How to handle an age-diverse workplace

Young workers are oftentimes over-generalized by their elders. They can be commonly stereotyped as being lazy, non-committal and in need of constant praise. Meanwhile, our elders are at times teased for an old-fashioned understanding of tech. Yes, there are differences between generations and those differences have an impact on the workplace.

Staffing firm Robert Half recently took a survey of Chief Financial Officers (CFO) to probe the issue. CFOs were asked:

In which one of the following areas do you see the greatest differences among your company's employees who are from different generations?

The top answers were “communication skills, adapting to change, technical skills and cross-departmental collaboration.” Only seven percent said there were “no differences”. The research highlights the following key differences:

  • Communication style: The research indicates that Baby Boomers tend to be more reserved while Gen Xers favor a control-and-command style. Conversely, Gen Yers prefer a more collaborative approach to communication and Gen Z’ers prize in-person interactions.

  • Change management: According to the research, Gens X and Y tend to see change as a vehicle for new opportunities, while Gen Z is accustomed to change and expects it in the workplace.

  • Technical skills: When it comes to building their abilities, all workers expect employer-backed training. Baby boomers and Gen Xers most value traditional instructor-led courses or self-learning tools; millennials, which include Generations Y and Z, prefer collaborative and technology-centric options.

Robert Half Management Resources offers five tips for managing a multi-generational workforce:

  • Don't overthink it: Start with the understanding that everyone wants to do a good job and help the company. This commonality lays a strong foundation for relationship building.

  • Customize your style: Staff possesses common attributes, but they also have individual needs. Tailor your management for each person’s strengths, personality and aspirations.

  • Go off-site: Host team-building events outside the office to give employees a chance to get to know each other in a different setting.

  • Let newer professionals take the lead: Institute reverse mentorships, where less-seasoned staff advises and share their insights with veteran colleagues. Also invite team members from all generations to share their unique areas of expertise.

  • Mix and match project teams. Put together groups with complementary skills and diverse perspectives. This can prompt innovation and new problem-solving techniques.

More workplaces should adopt a positive mindset towards people from other generations and start working together. Diversity is strength.

At Travis Credit Union, we strongly support equal opportunity and diversity in the workplace. Are you ready to join our team? There are a variety of job openings at our branches and corporate offices. Visit our Careers page to find out more about working at Travis and apply today.

Join Our Awesome Cause