Top Tips for Managing Multiple Generations
When you start to think about generational differences in the workplace you might ask, as a leader, how do I best lead my teams?
Generally speaking, we could say that baby boomers appreciate communication that focuses on expertise – they value experience. This also means it’s important to understand the value that baby boomers bring to the workplace with their experience and to leverage that as well. Baby boomers often prefer communication to be slightly more formal – for example, they may prefer an email to a Slack message.
For Generation X, Y or millennials, you may be able to rely on very short writing styles. You can still use email, but you may also communicate via Slack messages. You can also take a more casual tone. Younger generations value individual contributions, flexibility and opportunities for growth.
However, as I mentioned earlier, you can’t generalise about people based on their age. The only way to know the best way to communicate with your team members is to ask them.
Take a Broader View
I’ve often heard complaints about millennials from older managers. They say things like, ‘why are they asking for this? They’re so entitled.’ If you take a broader view, you may come to realise that it’s not that the individual is entitled, it’s just that expectations have changed in the workplace.
‘it’s not that the individual is entitled, it’s just that expectations have changed in the workplace’
Reflect on Retention
Have a look at the demographics of your team and read about the different generations and their different values. Can you associate those broad generalisations with your team members?
This can offer clues on how to retain these individuals for longer. For example, if one of your millennial team members asks to go on a training course every three months, you may dismiss their request thinking, ‘Oh, that person is so entitled’.
But sometimes it can help to reflect and think, ‘Okay, perhaps they’re not entitled, growth and development is just something that’s important to them and to their generation. And there’s value in bringing these skills into the business. So I’m going to hold my judgement and I’m going to go ahead and authorise this.’