Managing a Multi-Generation Workforce

Association of Business Training
May 25, 2012 — 947 views  

When they think about managing a multi-generation workplace, business managers and owners automatically think about the challenges involved. However, there are many benefits to managing the multi-generation workplace -- individuals from different generations can come together to weave a rich fabric of experience that can benefit the company's operations.

What Does a Multi-Generation Workforce Look Like?

Today's workplace is a mix-and-match of individuals from three generations. Born between 1943 and 1960, the Baby Boomers are the oldest workers, and they tend to be the most traditional. They often see younger workers as lacking a strong work ethic, according to CIO. This may be because of younger worker's focus on technology, creativity and multi-tasking. While they may use technology because it is necessary to complete their jobs -- and some may even struggle with this -- most Baby Boomers prefer not to communicate online or via text message.

Generation X is made up of individuals who were born between 1961 and 1981. They too tend to look at younger workers as less committed workers, and having been born before most modern technology came into day-to-day use -- they also often have fewer technology skills and more negative attitudes toward technology.

Generation Y, those born after 1982, are the youngest workers in today's workplaces. They are the most technologically inclined, often choosing to use technology for pleasure outside of work. They like to communicate using social media and text messaging, and might even find email too slow. They often feel that older workers do not understand their work ethic and the role that technology plays in their lives, so they occasionally feel as if they are given a "bad rap."

Tips for Managers

To effectively manage a multi-generation workplace, managers need to start by seeing this workplace as something positive rather than negative. They need to understand that each generation has benefits. For example, Baby Boomers can help younger employees understand how some clients prefer to close a deal face-to-face.

However, the real issue for managers will come down to technology. Often, older workers attitudes toward technology can change if they are given a supportive and safe environment in which they are able to learn more about different technologies. However, managers will have to understand that in-house training will often need to occur when workers from the Baby Boomer and Generation X eras make up the workplace.

Association of Business Training