With older Americans working longer and younger people constantly entering the workplace, it’s more important than ever for owners and managers to focus on building a positive multi-generational workforce to help their businesses grow and succeed. Acknowledging the unique skills, values, talents, and strengths that each group can provide will help you foster an atmosphere where multiple generations of employees can work together and learn from each other.

Put Generational Differences to Work for You

For the first time in American history, four generations of employees are working side by side in the workplace. Each generation brings its own unique styles and habits into the workplace. Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers are known for their work ethic, a strong commitment to company goals, and loyalty to their employer. Millennials, who are more likely to embrace technology and seek more flexible work environments, are poised to make up nearly half of all workers in America in 2020. Meanwhile, Gen Z is just beginning to enter the workforce. Quick to pick up on new technologies and mediums, Gen Z is the segment of the workforce about whom least is known.

With such varied experience, education, and skills, it’s important for employers to recognize the differences between each generation and how to use those differences to their advantage.

Encourage Collaboration

Often dismissed as set in their ways or unable to adapt, Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers are actually in the best position to guide younger generations of workers to career success. Placing more experienced employees in mentoring positions allows them to share their experience, vision, wisdom, and perspectives. These mentoring programs allow your company to ensure that institutional knowledge isn’t lost when older workers retire.

Meanwhile, Gen Z-ers and Millennials can help introduce older employees to beneficial technology that can make work easier and more successful. Allowing your younger employees to share their insights and knowledge gives them a chance to contribute in a meaningful way and helps create a more agile and responsive workforce. Multi-generational, collaborative teams can be key to helping your company overcome challenges and setbacks.

Make Learning a Priority

With older employees working longer before they retire and young people entering the workforce in droves, companies have to be more responsive than ever to the needs of their multi-generational teams.
Access to online training, ongoing educational opportunities, classroom training, and mentoring programs helps your employees master new skills and expand their knowledge. These pathways for continued learning and improvement provide your employees with the tools they need to succeed in the workplace. Managers and supervisors should work hand-in-hand with their team members to create integrated career plans and skill maps to help them achieve their career goals.

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