Top 7 Steps to Increase Generational Harmony in the Office
By Gretchen Neels
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For the first time in history, four generations are working together under the same roof: Traditionalists (born 1909-1945), Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Gen Xers (born 1965-1979) and Millennials (born 1980-2000). Each generation approaches work differently, with distinct needs and expectations. There are some great books and training companies that can shed more light on this subject. In the meantime, here are seven steps you can take right now to close the generation gap in your office:
- Share information about the four generations with others in your office. Simple awareness that not everyone in the office thinks alike can be a powerful first step.
- Be mindful of how others are treated in the office. Everyday courtesies such as “please”, “thank you”, “you’re welcome”, “good morning” and “it’s nice to see you” can really have a very positive impact on the office. Lead by example.
- Xers and Millennials need to be very conscious of being polite to Traditionalists and Boomers. While “hey man” and “dude” work within certain circles, leave them out of the workplace, as slang is often misunderstood or worse, taken as disrespectful, and too familiar.
- Form a focus group consisting of one or two representatives from each generation and use them as a sounding board for new ideas and to track your office’s progress. Ask them how things are going, and then really listen.
- If you have a mentoring program in place, be sure participants are aware of basic differences in their approaches to work – it will make for some great team building!
- Re-align your recruiting strategy – one size does not fit all. That goes for your company’s retention efforts as well.
- Perhaps your benefits package needs another look – and while you’re at it, what is your company’s policy on telecommuting, job sharing and part-time employment? Remember that flexibility is key to keeping good people.
Neels & Company - Strategic Business Communication
Article Submitted On: October 25, 2006