Breath of Clarity

Comment #1: Multi-Generational Workplaces

Original Post by Will Magnum:

Within my position, I know that we have a lot of older individuals that work in my office. The generation difference is a prominent barrier when working with a team that comes from different backgrounds. The older work generation expects to work over 45 hours a week to impress their superiors while the younger workers only want 40 hours a week and leave right when we get off. The expectations are vastly different and managing those different aspects can be quite a difficult challenge. The culture for older generations when working in a company is that they will stay with the company for much longer. However, in my generation, company loyalty is pretty much nonexistent because most companies do not offer long-term benefits if you stay in the company. I know many of my co-workers have been working here for 20-30 years without a real long-term benefit.

In terms of communication, older generations are not as diverse with the technology. Working for a federal agency, I know all too well how outdated a lot of our technology is because it is based on the people that work in the agency. Many of these workers are older individuals who do not necessarily know how to utilize technology to the full extent. When working a multi-generational team, communication and workflow is different, but understanding that can help create a more effective team. To lead a team like this, bringing people together is the first and most significant aspect of a multi-generational team. Communication across generations is difficult because older generations rely on calling and mailing rather than electronic functions. Texting and emailing are the part of the newer generations and can hinder the communication across generations. A way around these communication barriers is to provide a simple way to let everyone know the best ways to communicate. It may be out of the way for some people but will generally be the most uniform solution.

My Comment:

Hi Will,

Excellent post! It makes sense that the older generations want to work more hours now because they value hard work and care about setting up a great retirement. They were also taught to have a high respect for authority by their parents. At the same time, younger works are more connected to technology so they have many ideas of where else they can be instead of staying late at the office. The younger generation’s focus on technology also opens them up to a job market gateway that would lead to them having higher attrition.

Great point that having people from the older generation in executive positions leads to a company’s technology being outdated. As the younger generation teaches the older generation how to efficiently use technology, it brings the opportunity to empower new employees and make them feel valued. Also, in my experience, calling and emailing is a great common ground between the older and younger generations.