Let’s face it; the look of our work force has changed. We are now more likely to have a 23 year old staffer working right next to a staffer with 20 years of experience. This kind of age spectrum creates a unique management situation. Our manager’s usually are thinking, ‘how do I manage this time bomb’? If you are dealing with a multi-generational workforce, here are some survival tips.
Understand the expectations of every generation
Workers in their 20’s are agile and very connected with technology. They expect instant answers and instant access because technology allows their life to be very fast. A lot of younger worker’s also have had the benefit of seeing what working just for a paycheck can do, so they come to work because they want to. That passion is hard for other workers to keep up with. It is up to you to engage that staffer in order to create a reasonable access to management strategy. Worker’s in their 30’s are very competent and self-guiding, but they need definite goals. Ambiguity is not their cup of tea. You really need to say what you mean and be very clear about your success/failure definitions. These workers are generally beginning their lives professionally and personally, so they are looking for a balance more than anything.
Our older workers want to be left alone to do their job, but they also want to learn the new things so they can ride the technology wave. We don’t always shy away from technology and I know for myself, I need someone more competent with technology than me but I don’t want to feel like the village idiot learning it. Pair your younger employees with older employees and let that knowledge exchange happen organically.
Create a collaborative culture
I know that this should go without saying, but I’m saying it anyways. People are different and in a good company everyone wants their job to reflect their talent. Sometimes it’s hard to learn and ask questions with the boss in earshot, so create an atmosphere where your employees are comfortable learning from each other. The young ones can teach the seasoned employees technology
and the seasoned employees can teach the young ones the politics of doing business.
Managing staff is difficult and the different generations have completely rewritten management rules, but the benefits of harnessing a multi-generational staff are amazing. Hopefully these tips will create your own batch of superstars.