Engaging the four generations at workplace
Have you ever felt at home in your workplace? Contemplate this – wouldn’t it make a vast difference if your colleagues at work became your second family? To build a healthy bond amongst your contemporaries, the intergenerational gap needs to be bridged. Therefore, it’s vital to recognize each other’s strengths and common interests to create a viable environment at work.
Dr. Paul Redmond, an expert on the ‘Generation Theory’ believes that understanding generational dissimilarity is the key for companies today. These days companies have the young and old working together. With this mix of age groups and different styles of working, the liability of creating a cordial environment invariably falls on the senior management. The greater the flexibility and freedom an employee has, the higher the workplace satisfaction.
Each age group has its unique perspectives and quirks, which when interlaced with company’s values and common interests can cover the gap between all the four generations, namely, the Veterans, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y workers. This is where the workroom design comes into the picture. So, when you ask, what are the factors that can help bridge the intergenerational gap at workplace? Here’s what you need to do:
Focus on the common points
Imagine yourself in a workplace where you’re sharing the same lunch table with your peers and managers, discussing over the GOT series or laughing over your previous date-night goof up! The key approach here is to highlight the similarities rather than pointing out the differences between the four generations.
While such core interests and values can be aligned irrespective of the age gap, yet, making an initiative and focussing on them can successfully instil flexibility and broad-mindedness within a work culture.
Make enough room for communications
Conversations in office can often get convoluted. Talks like the brilliant tap dance performance at the previous award ceremony or your colleagues laughing on someone over their striper name! Have such instances ever made you feel out of place? Therefore, it is must that employees be given the right set of workspace and liberty to verbally express to make work a happy place.
A key factor in bridging the workplace age gap is communication. Happiness at work can be achieved through various engagement activities, team building exercises, CSR activities and employee-recognition programs. Keeping the lines of communication open to all can promote the shared values.
Understanding that there’s a great deal to be learned contributes to an immense amount of profit for professionals in any generation. A strong mentoring platform and encouraging cross-generational mentoring opportunities should be highly encouraged. This enables individuals to meet, learn, gain direction and learn from practices of other individuals. To cite an instance, a newly joined senior professional could be found being mentored by a junior about the process of a project structure.
Build a stable department culture
Have you tried working with music plugged in? Doesn’t it generate an immense amount of energy and enthusiasm within your body? It’s the same when it comes to a company work culture. A strong and enabling office culture allows team members to work better with each other, irrespective of their generation differences. When your department promotes a friendly work culture, your employees are likely to bond well. Only when a culture demands respect among peers, your team mates are likely to get along and add productivity.
Set out expectations
For a fully functional work environment, clear role expectations need to be set out. Millennials need to have a thirst to learn and have reverence for older generations. Therefore, allocating roles and setting expectations can benefit the organization as it curves the path to seamless learning.
Simultaneously, it also provides perspectives. If the manager or the team head is asking too much from certain employees or whether there is genuinely a work overload. Therefore, while outlining expectations that are reasonable and realistic, you’ll realize that your employees can find a better scope at success.
An overall picture
Managing the intergenerational gap at workplace is nothing but empowering employees of all age groups and showing them what respect, is. Although, today we could run into scenarios with age gap impacting our productivity, we should rather take the time and embrace it. A key part of managing the generation gap at workplace is to be comfortable with the culture, understand and cull out a way of our own to approach and blend with it.