While in conversation with a group of managers recently, we soon started on the topic of Millennials (Generation Y) in the workplace. After the initial sighs, the managers lamented they had no idea what to do with Millennials.
I listened intently and heard nothing but complaints. It was as if Millennials were this alien race of workers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, so much emphasis has been placed on Millennials that many employers miss the opportunity to see the goldmine that exists by having five generations of workers in their organizations: the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers (1945-1963), Generation X (1964-1979), Millennials (1979-1999) and Generation Z (2000-present), the newest generation now entering the workplace.
Why such animosity towards Millennials? Could it be that the other generations are jealous that Millennials were bold enough to ask for working conditions that other generations have only dreamed about? How many of you wish you could spend more time with family and have more flex time?
Don’t you wish you were given regular feedback instead of the haphazard annual review, which failed to capture your true worth to the company or provide feedback for growth?
How many of you were promoted into jobs where you could only hope for training? Don’t you want to know that your life had meaning?
Now imagine working for a company that not only paid you well but filled the need in your soul to make a positive mark in this world. Think carefully about what Millennials are asking for and ask yourself if other generations can benefit from their requests.
As a manager, do not get swept up in the generational stereotypes that focus only on ways the generations are different. Strive to find the common ground and capitalize on the individual skill sets each individual brings to the table.
Here are eight keys to keep in mind as you manage a multigenerational team.
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