The makeup of workforces is changing. It’s uncharted territory indeed, but if you embrace the opportunities, there are numerous benefits.
The younger generation, now in their 20s, are rapidly moving up the career ladder into management roles, whilst those in their 60s and 70s are continuing to work long after established retirement age.
Mix in those in their mid 30s-40s, and age-diverse teams made up of three generations are the new norm.
This mix of generations can create tension due to differing skill sets, attitudes and expectations. Younger generations grew up in the Internet age, in a world where the business landscape of outsourcing and downsizing is commonplace, and so they are more likely to change jobs frequently.
In contrast, older generations often expect to spend their whole working life in the same company, and they may not as tech-savvy as younger colleagues, especially when it comes to social media. The older generation sometimes criticises younger colleagues for expecting instant success and rewards without putting in the years of service.
Embracing the opportunities that come from age-diversity by harvesting the unique skillset that each generation brings to the table can result in dynamic and flexible teams, with a range of skills and knowledge. The older generation can be valuable mentors to younger colleagues, whilst younger employees are a valuable source of ideas, tech skills and fresh perspectives.
Understanding the value of this diversity and putting in place strategies to get the most out of employees is the key to a harmonious and productive working environment. Creating a focused game plan can help you thrive in the multi-generational workplace.
Here we highlight some key strategies:
Mentoring can be a game-changer
Facilitating the exchange of ideas across the workforce and different generations can boost innovation and allow new perspectives. The younger generation can tap into the in-depth pool of industry knowledge held by the older generation.
Build your own network of advisers
Some companies don’t have formal mentorship schemes, but make a point of building relationships with key people across the organisation. Select people from different generations and departments, so you can tap into knowledge to help you get a deep understanding of the culture and dynamics of the company. This can be invaluable when you are trying to climb the career ladder.
Promote your unique skills
Whichever generation you come from, focus on what specialist knowledge or value you can offer your company. Are you fluent in a foreign language or are you a social media whizz? Ensure your colleagues are aware of this, so they can tap into your knowledge. They will appreciate the support and they may return the favour for you.
This is not the only benefit, as it can be the edge you need to ensure you are top of the list for promotion. Whatever your age, actively connecting with a diverse range of colleagues will enhance your knowledge and get you on the radar of the influencers within your company.
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