4 Steps to Managing Generational Differences in Your Greenhouse
Companies throughout America are wrestling with the challenge of managing multiple generations in the same workplace. Each generation wants something different, which makes traditional broad-brush management strategies frustrating for the employees and ineffective for the organization.
It’s very easy to become obsessed by these differences, as they seem to be the primary cause for friction between each group. However, as a manager, you need to embrace those differences and use them to your advantage when leading a multi-generational team.
When you combine the desired work environments that each generation values, you can see a definite path to motivating and retaining a multi-generational team. Here are four steps to take when building that path.
Forget the Past
If there is a better way to do something, take the suggestion. Although four generations may be part of the team, your experienced and proven employees may not always have the best ideas. If you want a Millennial to stay engaged, give him or her a voice. If you want a Gen Xer to commit to the business, give him or her the opportunity to implement an idea.
Specific Goals and Expectations
Although each generation approaches its work differently, well-defined goals and expectations help to keep each team member on the same page. When working with multiple generations, you need to lay out the goals and expectations for everyone and then manage your feedback according to preferences. The key in this process is not just setting the expectations, but how you communicate them, and the way you provide feedback on the activities.
Leverage the experience on your team and reward them with the boost in ego and experience they deserve by providing your employee with the opportunity to mentor. Each generation has different approaches to people and problems. Use those differences to teach your new employees options and ideas. Including your employees in training tends to reduce generational friction and helps to build teamwork.
Give Them Purpose
Regardless of which generation an employee is in, they all want to understand how the company is doing, where the business is going, and how they are a key part of that process. This is a perfect example of where a small investment in communication pays massive rewards. These conversations are not just limited to annual reviews, but a regular part of your daily, weekly, and monthly communication to employees.
When not managed properly, generational differences will have a negative impact on your recruitment, morale, turnover, communication, teamwork, and overall company performance. But if you take the time to understand why each generation acts the way it does, you will be able to leverage your employee diversity and shift your team’s generational differences into success.