bridging generational gap

The workforce is quickly changing, but not all leaders have been keeping up. Many teams are made up of different generations, causing a gap in how they communicate, learn and produce work. The key is to ensure that all employees are engaged and that the workplace is one which fosters communication, creativity and is open to different styles of thinking.

First, you have to understand your team, which might include Boomers, Gen X and Millennials. Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964, and want to be valued, needed and feel they deserve good fortune. They are also optimistic, loyal and value respect. Gen X are those born between the early 1960s and early 1980s. Gen X values a work-life balance, tend to question leadership and like doing things their own way. They are constantly at risk of being disengaged, so leaders should relax rigid rules and allow this generation to do things their own way. Millennials, also known as Gen Y, are those born after the early 1980s. This generation needs recognition for their work, and need to know the 'why' in every situation. Millennials believe work-life balance is their right and place high value on innovators, and those who are smart, social and tech-savvy.

Regardless of the generation, every employee needs feedback, recognition and rewards for their work. These programs and responses can be tailored to each generation, but the results will be the same -- engaged employees who feel loyal to the company's larger goals.

Like giving feedback, every employee wants to feel respected in their role, regardless of generation. Especially when it comes to smaller teams, employees should in involved in moving the company forward and continued learning.

Lastly, but most importantly, create a inclusionary office culture and encourage teamwork among the different generations. Each has something valuable to offer and, if channeled toward collective goals, can be used in conjunction with each other. Understand the traits of your employees, know what makes then tick, and use this information to keep them engaged.

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