Today's workforce is stocked with employees of all ages, from millennials to baby boomers. Managers have to learn to deal with and adapt to the different mindsets, work habits, values and communication styles of each generational group. Consider these tips for managing an age-diverse workforce.
Promote Work-Life Balance
It is important for employees to be able to separate their work lives from their personal lives. Employees have different values and responsibilities at each stage of their lives. Offering a flexible work schedule or comp time benefits employees of all age groups, whether they are baby boomers taking care of ailing parents, Gen Xers facing their own health problems or millennials tending to their young families.
Offer Employee Enrichment Opportunities
Give all your employees the chance to enhance their knowledge and skills. When employees are offered self-enrichment opportunities, they feel valued and are more satisfied with their jobs, improving workplace morale and decreasing turnover rates. Require all managers to attend training that helps them identify generational differences and adapt to them.
Focus on Communication
While communication strategies differ among all generations, the central idea of a strong communication network is important to everyone in your workforce, regardless of their ages. Avoid making communication too standardized or formal within your organization, as it can be restricting. Allow employees to work on teams to open up the dialogue and recognize each others' strengths.
Nurture Employee Relationships
Encourage employees to bond and socialize by planning casual social activities, such as luncheons. Promoting social relationships between your employees leads to a friendlier and more enjoyable work environment for the entire workforce.
Recognize Differences in Learning Styles
Employees of all age groups prefer to learn in different ways, so accommodate their needs. Millennials often prefer technology-based learning platforms with the opportunity for interaction, while baby boomers opt for traditional learning methods, such as handbooks and PowerPoint presentations.
Engage Your Workforce
Empower and motivate your employees by making them feel valued and appreciated. Ask older workers to mentor newer employees to share trade secrets and impart job-specific knowledge, and allow younger workers to take on challenging assignments that provide job satisfaction.
Celebrate Employee Achievements
Recognize the hard work of all your employees, whether the achievements are the result of team efforts or individual work. Send out a simple email to acknowledge success or distribute inexpensive achievement awards. This show of appreciation helps to improve the morale of employees of all ages.
There isn't one perfect way to manage your entire workforce. With each generation comes a new set of workers with personalities and work styles all their own. The key to managing an age-diverse workforce lies in recognizing the generational differences to address the values and expectations of each group.
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