One of the most notable trends being observed today is of four generations coexisting in one workplace. This makes it essential for departments in a company to not only think of ways to upgrade the capacity of the workforce, but also think of ways to ensure better cross-generational collaboration.
Traditionalists, born before 1946, typically believe in a system based on seniority and prefer the command-and-control management style. Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are usually the very ambitious kind. They are extremely focused on building their careers and are used to intense competition for jobs in their field. A large number of professionals comprising this group are found in senior roles. They are partners, directors or corporate consultants. The Generation X workers, born between 1965 and 1979, generally like working independently on projects and seek self-direction in chosen careers. Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, is born between 1979 and 1999. They value autonomy and reinforcement in their jobs, as well as workplaces promoting informal and collegial relationships. These tech-savvy professionals want work to be fun at the same time challenging. They have often been accused of jumping from job to job.
Employers can manage their workforce favorably by making use of the following workforce management strategies:
Promoting Cross-Generational Collaboration: This can be possible through mentoring arrangements as well as fostering a respectful work environment. Mentoring arrangements enable professionals of different age groups to overcome misconceptions about each other. Pairing up younger and older professionals helps in building a collaborative environment. It also adds to the knowledge sharing process and the employees acquire better know-how of each other's strengths. Since each generation brings its own strengths and experiences, employers must ascertain that each professional is trusted and gets due respect. Employers can consider adopting a policy of openness and flexibility. It helps to know to what extent the aspirations of employees are aligned with company goals and how the workforce can function best.
Developing the Employee: Employers must invest in their employees. At many instances trainings at the workplace have acted as incentives to retain good employees. Workforce development is, however, not restricted to simply teaching job skills. It also plays an important role in developing character and shaping the attitude of employees to their colleagues, peers and employer. By investing in the latest software and current equipment, employers can boost productivity of employees. Companies of all sizes must provide opportunities to employees to expand their career horizons.
Rewarding Good Behavior: There is a range of differences in what each generation values. Rewarding good behavior ensures that work is completed in an amicable and timely manner. Rewards must be chosen in keeping with what would attract the interests of workers. For instance, Gen Y workers would appreciate tickets to a football game or an Amazon.com gift card, while the Baby boomer or Traditionalist generation would prefer a gift card to a golf shop.
Permitting Expression of Negative Behavior: Employees must be encouraged to express their negative feelings regarding colleagues, work and work processes. When employers permit the expression of negative feelings without the fear of reprisal or punishment, it helps employees to understand each other's psychology better. It also helps to align common interests with company goals.
Targeting Problems Rather Than Individuals: Employers must try to settle problems rather than pull up employees based on other's assumptions about their behavior. Situations must be analyzed from every point of view.
Work-life balance, fair treatment, opportunities for personal development, a challenging work environment, timely career advancements, and competitive compensation are key drivers of employee engagement.
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