The current retirement age in the United States is 67 years old. Also, in the USA, you can begin working at age 14 (or 16 depending on the state.) This means there can be as many as 5 different generations of people working in the same workplace at one point in time. It is important to learn the differences and strengths of those in each age range. Each person learns differently, and age also needs to be considered when teaching. Continue reading to learn how to create multi-generational harmony in your workplace.
Create a Culture of Respect and Communication
It is easy for interactions between different generations of people to turn negative. Each person may have learned how to do something or handle situations differently. It is important that you promote open communication amongst your staff, as well as stressing the importance of being respectful. There will be times your staff may experience disagreements or differences in opinion, but the exchanges should always be respectful. Just because someone has been doing a job for years, doesn’t mean that they know everything. Even the most experienced of employees may have things they can learn from their younger co-workers. Encourage all employees to listen to each other and share their knowledge without fear.
Flexibility is Important
“When you understand what makes other generations “tick,” being able to accommodate their needs and preferences, where practical, can help to prevent division and conflict.” Says Mindtools.com. Every generation has a different set of moral principles they live by, their values may be quite different as well. It is important to learn about what each member of your staff cares about the most. Meet with your team either as a group or individually, on a somewhat regular basis. This is a great way to see how the employees are handling their workload, or if they are in need of a change or additional help.
Don’t Believe Stereotypes
There are some common stereotypes that tend to follow different generations. For example, it is common for people to assume that older people don’t understand technology or social media. This, of course, is not true. A large number of older people who are part of older generations easily adapted to using social media and new technology. Instead of making assumptions about your staff member just because of their age, talk to them. Ask them to gauge what they do and do not understand. Only they can tell you what they need to learn.
Encourage Shared Learning
Instead of always being the teacher, encourage your employees to teach each other. Everyone brings different talents and skills to the table. Encourage your team to share their knowledge. The best teams are ones who build each other up and utilize the strengths each team member has. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Even though your staff may be vastly different ages, that does not necessarily mean they have nothing in common. Find things that all of your staff enjoy. Using these commonalities is a great way to strengthen your team’s bond. When we find things in common with those around us, it encourages us to communicate openly with each other and build stronger relationships.
Workplaces bring people of all ages together. Making sure your team works well together is so important. Take time to learn what your team’s strengths and weaknesses are. You can utilize this and create the strongest team possible.
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