There is much discussion and debate about who is the better worker - a 60-year-old or a 24-year-old. With multiple generations sharing the workplace, employers must make the shift to create a harmonious, productive and respectful environment. The millennial workers and older workers both bring value to the workforce. So let’s ask ourselves - how does each generation learn how to work in an environment with two different schools of thought?
Any employer will most likely tell you managing a mixed and strong-willed group of older and younger workers can be a challenge. Older workers have their view of the work world and corporate beliefs, and so do the millennials. Because of this difference, they can bump heads. Therefore, the effects of this difference and handling of it are not always a piece of cake. According to Forbes.com, companies must effectively work with older workers and millennial workers to bridge the gap between technology and business experience. Forbes continues to believe when managing staff, it’s important to recognize skills, knowledge, and experience of senior leaders. They need to feel their experience is worth something and valued in the company. Therefore, employers should be encouraged to ensure they are positioning millennials to be mentored by the senior leaders as they are starting on their career paths.
Another factor to consider when creating a harmonious work environment is balance. Younger workers must learn how to connect with a company, learn how to communicate face to face, and learn from older workers. On the other hand, older workers are sometimes threatened by the savvy technological skills younger workers bring to the table. Therefore, an employer’s role is to encourage older workers to value and learn new skills in the workplace. However, let’s not forget that some millennials have to get past being overconfident of their abilities too. Here are some helpful tips to share with older workers and millennials for them to contribute to a successful multi-generational workplace:
Older Workers: Should be consistent with promoting their wealth of experience; lean on their knowledge, skills, and most importantly, their ability to assist in shaping a business. Don’t downplay the importance of technology because it could lead them to greater opportunities which can translate to more money, more money, more money!
Millennial Workers: Should embrace learning the soft skills necessary to build good relationships in the workplace and interpersonal communication skills. We know these traits are learned over a period and must frequently be exercised. Also, younger workers should be open to accepting that technology is not the end all be all to replace the real world of work and the experience you gain from it.
According to The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), if you are 40 years and older, YOU ARE AN OLDER WORKER! Google classifies millennials as 18 to 29 years of age. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t identify the 30 to 39-year-olds…sorry. So, which group do you identify with? Regardless of which group, do a self-evaluation of YOUR attitude toward the multi-generational workplace. Remember, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!