Posted by Robert Half on 21 November 2014
Inter-generational differences can be especially pronounced in the office. How do you keep such a diverse mix of employees equally engaged?
Companies today are experiencing more diversity in their employee mix. By 2025, one in two executives in the workforce will be a Generation Y employee born between the early 1980s and early 2000s.
With longer life expectancy and increasing costs in living standards, Generation X and Baby Boomer employees are putting off retirement until later in life. With a makeup of employees with different backgrounds, work habits, preferences, and communications patterns, it is critical that employees can relate effectively to each other.
Here are four great ways employers can create a more cohesive team with multigenerational employees:
Set ground rules for hybrid teams
Minimise risk for any conflict to occur by setting clear ground rules. Having a standardised set of rules to manage diverse communications and working styles will allow every employee to have a clear set of expectations. For instance, create a team calendar where everyone can see when one of their teammates is going on leave. This will help prevent a scenario where the team becomes under-resourced or overburdened with work.
Encourage cross-generational teaching
Encourage employees to learn from one another. Employees who are more senior can mentor younger employees by sharing their knowledge and experiences. More youthful employees can bring their older colleagues onboard what’s trending online and how the latest technologies can help enhance work processes. Help Gen Y achieve a sense of ownership by making them feel they are contributing and making a difference at work. There are a lot of latent opportunities for cross learning and you certainly wouldn’t want to miss them out!
Recognise and reward your team
A one-size-fits-all reward system may not be effective when it comes to managing an inter-generational team. The more mature members on your team might appreciate a pay hike or a day off to spend with the family while the younger generation would like public recognition and the chance to take on new, exciting projects. Adopt a flexible mindset and when you understand what motivates (or sets off) certain generational groups or individuals, you can then customise your response and adjust recognition and reward programmes accordingly.
Have a “Generational Pop Culture Day”
Bring your team closer by encouraging them with team building exercises. One example of a great team builder is a “Generational Pop Culture Day”. Have your employees pick a significant generation from their lives, (60’s, 70’s, 80’s, etc) and let it be a themed day at work – where they can let loose and present the style of dress, popular music of the time, speech patterns or even bring items that were popular at the time to share. Make it fun and creative. Allow your team the opportunity to get to know each other through a fun activity. Be creative and think out of the box!
Creating a strong hybrid team is not difficult. There are certain universal things in business that transcend time and age. Quality, service with pride, honesty and integrity are important timeless values. By building on similarities and harnessing differences to a bigger better good, you can help create a stronger and more cohesive team who will be a huge asset to any company.
Keep this in mind and don’t wait too long to get the multigenerational party started!