Management Tips··7 min read

9 Tips For Managing A Multigenerational Workforce

multigenerational workforce

Managing a multigenerational workforce has its fair share of challenges, but it can offer many benefits for your business when done right. For instance, generational diversity exposes your business to a unique blend of skills, experiences, and talent.

What's a Multigenerational Workforce?

According to multigenerational workforce statistics, modern workplaces are experiencing a unique moment in history where businesses have access to a talent pool comprising five different generations. Here are the generations making up today's modern workforce:

  • Traditionalists. Traditionalists are also called the Silent Generation. Most traditionalists are retired, so only a few of them are working. You usually find these individuals at the top of the corporate ladder.
  • Baby boomers. You'll find a lot of baby boomers in workplaces, but some are beginning to retire. Generally, baby boomers have a reputation as hard workers.
  • Generation X. Although Generation X is rarely talked about. However, their independence has helped bring more work-life balance to the workplace.
  • Millennials. Millennials are also known as Generation Y. This generation is tech-savvy, but they share many values with previous generations.
  • Gen Z. This is the youngest generation in the workplace and the most tech-savvy.

Nine Tips For Managing a Multigenerational Workforce

Here are 9 top tips to help you make the most of your multigenerational workforce.

Avoid Stereotypes and Ageism

The most common traps you need to avoid when managing a multigenerational workforce are stereotypes and ageism. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to stereotype, and it doesn’t help that there are many stereotypes floating around about different generations.

For instance, older generations tend to think younger generations are a spoiled bunch that spends a lot of time glued to their phones. In contrast, younger generations might perceive older generations as old-fashioned and ill-equipped to deal with today's tech-centered office environment.

The truth is, you can't stick the same label on different employees just because they belong to one generation. In the same vein, you should avoid ageism, which refers to any thought patterns, prejudices, or actions towards a person that are solely motivated by the age factor.

Examples of ageism include when someone loses a job or becomes the target of specific remarks and comments because of their age.

Make An Effort To Understand Each Generation of Workers

Despite your best efforts, it's easy to stereotype or apply unconscious bias when managing workers from different generations. The key to ensuring this never happens is to dig deeper into what makes each member tick and understand their unique, individual traits. Otherwise, working with stereotypes can cause some team members to feel disrespected and undervalued.

The only way to truly understand different team members is to hear what they have to say about their motivations, preferred working styles, career goals, and training requirements. Ask questions to get valuable employee feedback. Later on, you can analyze collected data to gain deeper insights into your workforce.

Once you have a better understanding of your workforce, you can adapt accordingly and create a culture that recognizes age diversity and accommodates generational differences. This is a much better approach than forcing employees to fit certain stereotypes.

Use Different Communication Styles

One of the most common multigenerational workforce challenges is determining the right communication style to use. However, this is an inflexible approach that creates barriers between generations. The right solution is using a mix of traditional and modern communication styles to ensure each generation receives the intended message.

Knowing how to communicate with each generation keeps the whole team on the same page. In turn, this facilitates a smooth workflow. For example, older generations may rely more on face-to-face interactions or email to communicate. In comparison, younger generations prefer instant messaging via platforms like Slack, Asana, etc.

Encourage Teamwork and Sharing of Knowledge

When recruiting multigenerational workforce, you have an excellent opportunity to build a high-performing team with a wide range of experiences and skills. As you structure project teams, you should also take advantage of the opportunity to bring together staff members with complementary attributes. This creates an environment where employees from different age groups can easily share knowledge and gain new perspectives that enrich their work lives.

You can establish a two-way mentorship program that allows younger generations to share fresh perspectives with older generations. In turn, older generations can share insights gained from many years in the industry. By encouraging teamwork and sharing knowledge, you can build a high-quality team that's ultimately more valuable than the sum of its individual parts.

Provide Multigenerational Workforce Training

To ensure that you're maximizing the value of your team, provide multigenerational workforce training. There are many learning and training strategies that you can capitalize on to ensure your workforce stays competitive. Even though older generations have plenty of experience under their belt, don't just assume they don't need training or coaching.

Similarly, don't take it for granted that all younger employees are up-to-date with current technologies in your industry. It's better to create customized employee development plans that allow each person to add maximum value to the team.

Create a Flexible Work Culture That Accommodates Everyone

You may categorize them according to which generation they belong, but each employee's situation is still different. This requires you to establish a work culture that's incredibly flexible, open-minded, and inclusive. That's the only way to accommodate multigenerational employees with different ages, backgrounds, work styles, and preferences.

The newer generations, in particular, are demanding more workplace flexibility, which is one of the reasons why remote working has become so popular. While the older generation may have grown accustomed to the 9-5 schedule, managers need to be more flexible and open-minded with young generations in love with work from home opportunities.

When managing different generations, remember to listen to everyone equally, regardless of their age or years of experience in the industry. You should also make sure all your policies are inclusive, whether they relate to retirement or employee development.

Don't Take a One Size Fits All Approach

We have already established that managers should avoid stereotyping. Instead, they should create a workplace culture that's inclusive and equitable. However, this doesn't mean that all team members should be treated the same way. At the end of the day, each generation tends to have its own unique social norms, beliefs, and workplace attitudes that are not stereotypes.

It's possible to implement fair treatment while making special considerations about the challenges each generation deals with. Your leadership style has to be flexible enough to meet the various needs of your team.

Admittedly, striking the right balance is tricky, but again, getting to know your team intimately will help you secure better results.

Promote Transparency and Raise Awareness

Your efforts to foster teamwork and cooperation between multigenerational employees require participation from the team to be successful. Otherwise, if employees are unaware of their biases, they'll work against your managerial efforts.

Complete corporate transparency is also crucial to ensuring that employees are aware of the company's business goals and strategies. It's essential to communicate your expectations, so all the employees have a clear picture of one common goal they're striving for. With all eyes on the same goal, it's considerably easier to steer projects in the right direction with minimal resistance.

Everyone will be able to complete their tasks within designated deadlines without generational differences getting in the way. It's essential to help employees understand the dynamics of being part of an age-diverse team. This ensures you make the most of your multigenerational workforce. Most importantly, highlight the importance of focusing on project end goals instead of generational biases and differences.

Leverage the Right Technology Tools

Undoubtedly, managing a multigenerational team effectively is a tough order to fulfill. To avoid getting overwhelmed, you can leverage various software solutions that help you keep tabs on every team member, regardless of the tasks they're working on. For instance, you can use an app that allows you to track each team member's time at work.

You can also use other employee apps to streamline communication and boost employee engagement. Generally, you shouldn't have a problem getting your team on board if you have invested resources into ensuring that employees receive adequate technological training.

In this day and age, it's crucial to ensure that older generations gain some tech-savvy skills to keep up with the younger generation. This enables your team to work smarter and more efficiently.

The Final Word On Managing a Multigenerational Workforce

Managing a multigenerational workforce is now a must-have skill that all leaders and supervisors should get the hang of. It starts with abandoning stereotypes and gaining a deeper understanding of each team member. That way, you can tailor your leadership style to boost employee satisfaction and build a positive, inclusive, and harmonious culture.

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