All generations add valuable insights at work, so it is important for an employer to encourage diversity and inclusion in its practices. However, generational differences can cause conflict around values, communication, motivation, and work/life balance issues. These differences often cause people to work more with people their own age.
A key step in understanding such differences is to introduce a training program that focuses on working within multiple generations. The program can highlight things that motivate a mature, such as face-to-face contact; a boomer, such as recognition; a Gen-Xer, such as independence; and a Millennial, such as flexibility and time for personal life. It is critical to teach staffers the importance of compromise and how they will learn from each other.
After the training program, employees should be encouraged to talk openly about their needs, learn to avoid stereotypes, and break down those generational walls. Once this occurs, employees will realize that they have more in common than they believed.
Laura Smith is MD of HR at Edelman.
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