5 generations in the workplace, Generation Z (born 1996 on-wards) are in the workplace and the room for cross-generational conflict is here. Younger workers feeling deprived of career opportunities by job blockers. Older workers aghast at the irreverence of youth.
Retirement age removed, pension crisis in full swing, surge (massive if you’re Spanish and Greek) in youth unemployment. The storm is upon us.
The emerging sectors of digital, green and creative offer fantastic opportunities but a greater likelyhood of Gen X, Y and Z coming together each with a different set of skills and reference points. The challenge; getting each to educate the other in their relative strengths.
The time to be honest is now. The new realities are that growth and satisfaction come from diverse development experiences along with a range of different career opportunities. Reverse mentoring (cross-generational educational engagement) projects offer a way of getting the old and the young to just talk to one another. By engaging across the generations people are freed to have flexible thinking.
By exploring what’s right for individuals and addressing the tensions of generational differences trust can be encouraged to grow. Experiences and outcomes will be all the more richer, individual priorities appreciated, flexibility fostered and social environments more fluid.
So 5-Gen workplaces, what to do? Well best advice is definitely don’t lose your head when faced with difficulties. Honesty is the key, and keep to the task. Job organisation and design will have to appreciate the different generations and make the best of them. Rewards too, some younger workers will almost certainly be better rewarded than older workers; again honesty is key, reference the task.
Communication, the biggest single failure in any business, but there is a gap in what is being openly discussed and what should be openly discussed. Close the gap!
A spectrum of ages in a workplace is a positive advantage. It allows for a diverse range of skills, points of view, learning opportunities. By leveraging this diversity the business will benefit.
Each generation will typically have its own communication style, values and feedback modes. Everyone needs to recognize this and come to terms with it. Communication styles will have to be flexed to meet the varying demands of communications across the generations.
Job blocking? Its a fallacy to think that young people are being job blocked and careers stifled by older workers. By working together opportunities will be created.