We’ve never had a workplace with so much generational diversity before. For most of the last century, people moved through their career in a linear fashion, with important milestones largely marked by time or seniority. Retirement age used to be 65, and that was it. But today’s workforce looks and feels different. As a leader, this means you have a more dynamic group of people working for you than ever before, and you need to lead with credibility.
There are many explanations for the current demographics ranging from improved health and longevity to the financial market meltdown of 2008 which forced many people (a large number of Baby Boomers) to postpone retirement for financial reasons. We can’t control why so many generations are working side-by-side. So – we have no choice but to find ways for people with very different life experiences based upon age to work well together. So, how do business leaders keep the peace in the multi-generational workforce?
We have to design, build and deliver employee training that meets the needs of a very diverse workforce. As we start thinking carefully about the various generations, it’s important to understand that the differences between them are not simply a matter of age. Each generation has been shaped by events, and it’s the events during the formative years for people that make the most lasting and important impressions.
These “formative” or “sign post” events help inform attitudes about everything from politics, home, entertainment, to work or careers. It’s also important to bear in mind that making sweeping generalizations about large groups of people is not an accurate predictor of personality, traits, character, skills, motivations, etc.
The generational differences we’re going to explore that impact our employee training efforts tell some of each person’s story, but in the end, everyone is unique and may or may not fit neatly into the broad categories or characterizations usually associated with their generation.
Benefits of Understanding the Differences
Stereotyping generations can be very limiting. If we take the time to understand our employees and generational influences we can benefit from:
- More effective communication
- Increased engagement
- Improved employee retention
- Motivated employees
- Increased productivity and teamwork
All of these benefits lead to increased productivity, workplace success and ultimately a stronger business!
The formative life events of each generation help frame a world view that people bring to their jobs every day. This broad-based world view impacts work styles, our attitudes towards change and toward our careers, and how we structure our work and life!
As a leader, learning how generational differences impact each of your team members will help you align your communications to make them more effective in every way! This valuable information will help you design training goals and practices, understand their learning styles, how they can best communicate, problem solve, and make decisions. Getting an inside view of each team member’s generational influences will help you tailor your feedback so it is most likely to be met in a positive way.
Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.
We deliver results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance. Call 800.282.3374.
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