A workplace is a colorful environment, especially in larger companies with a higher number of employees. There are people coming from different backgrounds, various academic and experience levels, etc. All these differences add to company value with proper guidance, nevertheless, many HR managers are struggling with the generation gap. The generation gap represents the difference in views, methods, habits, and convictions between people within different age groups. Whether this gap will be beneficial for the company or represent an issue that needs to be dealt with in most cases depends on the ability of HR to manage employees and create a positive working atmosphere.
Possible Generation Gap Issues
As we already stated, employees of different ages have different personality traits. Generation X workers are individuals, used to short-term positions. Millennials like to question hierarchy, and don’t hold loyalty to employers very high. Finally, there are Generation Z employees that are all about the technology but you just can’t put your finger on any other character trait that’s universal for this group of people.
This intergenerational divide can lead to communication issues between people, which could spread a wildfire of problems with consequences affecting the entire team. Some employees adapt to changes more rapidly, while others need more time and training to learn how to use certain technology or software. All things considered, a generation gap needs to be carefully managed and used for the benefit of the entire team.
Building a Bridge to Overcome the Gap
The HR department is the first line of defense against the chaos that age difference can create in the workplace. Fast thinking and clever decision making can overcome this issue and make every member of the company a valuable asset. To do so, one needs to learn how to approach each age group in order to utilize their strengths, instead of focusing on what creates the divide.
Millennials and Generation Z are the future of the company. They are the ones who will one day become the most experienced workers with the entire business resting on their shoulders. In order to learn how to handle them, HR needs to learn how to communicate with this age group and how they perceive work and work-related communication. They prefer instant messaging, social media, and flexible working hours, rather than face-to-face meetings and 9 to 5 business hours.
Use of collaboration tools to improve the relations and working habits of employees is a good way to bridge the gap. These tools could be various techniques or software solutions that would put people of different age groups together and have them learn from each other. Every member of the team could make a personal contribution to the further development of these tools in order to make the whole thing work better for everyone.
Establishing mentoring programs within the company can significantly benefit the company. A recent survey showed that over 53 percent of employees beyond the age of 45 believe that technology and learning new computer-related skills would make them more efficient at work. Allowing the younger generation to teach their older colleagues about technology can lead to better communication and personal relations. On the other hand, the younger generation will be able to adopt some of the experience from seasoned professionals.
Some sources state that change of scene could lead to a better connection between employees who belong to different generations. Organizing a team-building event takes people away from the daily routine, and gets them connected in a less stressful environment so everyone would have a chance to get to know each other a bit better. Ultimately, a bit of fun can get everyone recharged and more productive in the days ahead.
No matter which industry a company is invested in, there are going to be some productivity issues related to generational differences. The most important thing to remember is that these problems should not be a reason for fear. Only by empowering each and every employee, learning about their needs and finding a way to meet them without harming the integrity of others, can a company overcome the generation gap.