From the baby boomers to the newest generation, Gen Z, there are presently four generations coexisting in the workforce.
The generational gap in the workplace is the difference in viewpoints, comprehensions, and experiences between generations. Parents and their children never have the same perspective on things in real life. This could also be applied to an office setting where there are employees from various generations.
Employees from various generations have varying expectations and life experiences, which influence how they interpret things and react to them. Management of teams made up of employees from different generations can be particularly challenging for managers.
The generation breakdown
Baby Boomers (1946-1964) - The reputation of this generation is of workaholics who prioritise professional success over anything socially inclined.
Generation X (1965-1980) - They were the first to pursue work/life balance and are fewer workaholics than the baby boomers.
Millennials (1981-1996) - This generation entered the workforce while technology was developing, contributed to the development of new technologies that might simplify everyone's jobs, and was even criticised for depending too heavily on technology. They make up the largest generation in the working population right now. They crave flexibility while supporting new advances. They are primarily leading the charge in promoting balance through initiatives like work from home, more flexible working hours, and dress code. They prioritise efficiency above hard effort, and they expect a lot of feedback from their bosses.
Gen Z (1997-2015): They are the most tech-savvy generation ever, having grown up with it. They are known for being independent and innovative. Additionally, they have the most things in common with millennials. Although they can multitask well, they have a short attention span, so at work they need employers to respond to them quickly.
Managing generational gap in the workplace
There are around four generations working in the workforce at the moment, which implies individuals with diverse viewpoints, perspectives on life, and experiences, from top management to the student interns in the office. Conflict might occasionally arise from this.
Each generation has unique traits and working techniques that, if improperly managed may lead to issues. All generations should be understood by management and leaders in order to manage them effectively.
Although managing generational differences in the workplace can be challenging for both employers and employees, it can also be beneficial if properly embraced and will provide the business a competitive edge.
Here are some strategies for managing and utilising the capabilities of all generations in businesses.
Realising that people of various ages can benefit from one another and making use of this knowledge by setting up mentoring programmes in which they may do just that. Being more open-minded and not having a one-size-fits-all mentality.
Encourage staff members to accept changes and improvements.
Assign tasks and projects that play to each person's talents.
Encourage respect among co-workers. Conflicts are less likely to occur if everyone values one another's opinions.
Encourage teamwork and communication.
Use several communication styles.
Avoiding stereotypes and discouraging them. For instance, if a 25-year-old believes people over 50 cannot learn new things, this would be detrimental in the workplace because it would likely lead to the alienation of older co-workers, which could result in misunderstandings and decreased productivity.
In summary, creating projects and programmes that enable everyone to contribute their unique views and abilities to a shared purpose would give a company a competitive edge over its competitors and peers.
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