Today’s workforce includes the Baby Boomer generation, Generation X, Generation Y (aka, Millennials), and Generation Z (the second half of the Millennials). Each generation has its own quirks, work styles, and values. In order to effectively lead this mix, it’s important to understand the differences.
Managing multi-generations is an art, but not an exact science. What can leaders do to increase employee engagement?
Recognize achievement. A one-size-fits-all recognition program will fail no matter who – or what generation – you are managing. Strive to understand what motivates generational groups and individuals, and then adjust your approach. For example, Boomers appreciate recognition of their experience, while Millennials value new opportunities for personal growth and development.
Share ideas. Make it clear that you expect two-way teaching and learning. Everyone wants to feel included and respected. For example, when working to solve a problem, Boomers can share their experience while Millennials offer a tech-driven perspective.
Collaborate. Make sure employees feel valued; there’s a place for everyone. The work ethic of Boomers can inspire all employees to do their best work. The independence and drive of Gen X can motivate your teams to be self-starters. Millennials’ need for meaningful work can open new doors to make a difference within the organization and community.
The challenge for employers is to demonstrate an understanding of what’s important to each generation and a sensitivity to what makes them happy. This will help companies shape a culture that meets the needs of all generations and capitalizes on their strengths. The result: improved productivity and success for both employees and the organization.