Every generation has its own trademark. It is a trademark that the previous generation may not be able to identify with readily but to which they can adjust if they are flexible. Flexibility is one of the keys to getting along in a multigenerational workplace. Do not become the dinosaur who cannot adapt to changes in the workplace cultural environment.
The values of younger people are quite different from those of older generation. These values that they have are unconsciously passed down to them from their parents which might be you. The younger generation is way more pampered, way more team-oriented and way-more multi-tasker than previous generation. They are technological wizards, they write differently. All their eyes may not be dotted or t’s crossed but that does not make them a poor worker.
In a given workplace you may find people who are traditionalists,(1927-45) those who conform to traditions of the past, the hard working ethics, they follow the rules, respect hierarchy and are less techno savvy, they like the personal touch rather than emails and texting.
Baby boomers (1946-64) think highly of themselves and are very competitive, they want to get ahead and they feel they have something important to say and do, they are people with a mission; they challenge authority and expect to be promoted and be treated fairly; they are the power-hungry generation, they love power and want power. Their lives revolve around their work – they put in the hours and expect to be rewarded with promotion.
Generation Xs (1965-80) are the children of baby boomers. They grew up in relative comfort and raised to be high achievers. They were sent to the best schools, engaged in after school activities and were pushed to be the best. This is a generation of latch key children because their double income parents were busy making money to live the good life; this was the age of the introduction of video games and home computers. Gen X are said to be individualistic and resourceful because they had to fend for themselves at a young age. Do not micromanage Generation X they may just walk away from the job. Give them space. They are not as committed to employer as previous generation, they work and take vacations, and they need time off. You treat them right and they will work for you. Their motto could be work to live rather than live to work.
Generation Y (1981 or later) – those in their mid twenties to early thirties – are your cell phone, black berry, head phone people who wants to be in constant touch with their friends and the world. They engage in text messaging, twitter and all the gadgets desired to connect with others quickly. They are very social and love to have fun. They loved to receive constant attention and feedback – they are the pampered generation whose parents hovered around them like a hovercraft- They were driven to school, driven to sports and children whose parents’ world revolved around them. They are high achievers. They are loyal but want to be included in decision making; they like to be involved as a member of the team. These are the children who were most involved in working as a team on projects in school, playing sports and doing things as a group so this is natural to them.
You want to keep a Gen Y happy, ask for their input, do not shut them away by themselves in an office, if you do that they may just be on the phone or texting their friends all the time. Allow them to mingle.
Ten ways to work with people outside of your generation.
1. Take time to get to know the person to find out what is important to them and how their values are shaped.
2. Be open minded to change realizing that nothing remains stagnant only some of us refuse to move
3. Treat each person as an individual, the person may not be a conformist and may not fit the stereotype, though may have some traits of a particular generation
4. Foster and encourage diverse work teams that include factors such as race, gender, sex, age and ability. When people work together they learn about each other and develop a greater tolerance and understanding of each other.
5. Keep the lines of communication open
6. Listen to each other.
7. Respect staff regardless of age, race, gender, religion etc. Have a respectful workplace policy posted in strategic places within the business establishment.
8. Regardless of what you just read have no assumption about your co-workers and if you are the leader, keep an open mind and you will know what you need to know. This is not the age where the boss will be tolerated with a heavy stick, you have to communication and negotiate and truly become the winning team.
9. Take pleasure in learning about others, develop a passion for it.
10. Give people choices and freedom to do the work in the way they want. It should not matter how they do it but what should matter is the results. Exercise Flexibility, make workers accountable for their and see the team as a group of individual people.