The troubleshooting guide for generations in the workforce
Team Management

The troubleshooting guide for generations in the workforce

Irene Kalesi
Irene Kalesi

Tech expertise is not an ability that you’re born with. People must train themselves to be tech-savvy. Today, generations in the workplace have very diverse approaches to technology. Baby boomers have little experience with it. Generation X is definitely more familiar with tech. The millennials (Gen Y) grew up during the rise of the internet and social media. Therefore, they stand on top of the pyramid enjoying a big piece of the workforce pie. However, we must not forget the children of technology. Gen Z children were born into the social media age and will dominate the near future. Therefore, age diversity in the workplace must be used to form well-structured colorful teams in today’s highly competitive market. The multigenerational workforce challenges can be tricky, but the age diversity in the workplace can enrich the working process and results.

Technology integrations for all ages

To have all the generations in your workforce coexisting in peace, technological integrations should be implemented gradually. Complex apps and processes should be avoided until all employees are comfortable with them. For example, email automation apps like MailChimp, communication apps like Slack, time management software like Elorus, and organization tools like Trello pose as good examples of integrations that all generations can try getting used to. Of course, there will be bumps on the road. App tutorials and troubleshooting sessions should come to the rescue. If attention is not paid to the progressive incorporation of technology, things could get rocky, so be extra careful.

Offer traditional and hi-tech options

Hi-tech processes and tools in business should not be a one-way street.  There are always ways to blend old school practices and new working habits for all the generations in the workforce. A baby boomer really likes talking on the phone, and a millennial will more likely use an app to communicate. Together, they can find a middle ground solution like talking through an app. This way, the young get their technological fix, and the old get the validation they need from a verbal conversation. The same principle applies to working styles. Working remotely should be a choice for all the generations in the workforce. Baby boomers will have to try it, and millennials will consider it a prerequisite.

Teach not force technology on your employees

Employers expect that their employees possess a certain technological set of skills. Though older people with experience and knowledge may not live up to today’s standards. Forcing all the new working trends upon the workforce is not a solution. It can create communication and productivity issues.

The secret to managing a successful multigenerational workforce is the art of training. Organizing sessions that teach new technologies to their employees is a smooth transition technique for everyone. The older generations will enter a new world and take baby steps towards technological literacy. The newer generations will refresh their knowledge and help the rest. Thus, age diversity in the workplace won’t be a drawback but as a learning booster.

Destroy negative stereotypes

The hardest thing to fight is not the lack of knowledge or incompetence. It’s fighting stereotypes. Stereotypes that have a negative impact on the business culture and your workflow. Older generations tend to look suspiciously at the newer ones. Y-ers and X-ers may seem lazier, too attached to technology, and with a different working attitude. In the same manner, newer generations view the baby boomers as archaic forms of authority. They have experience but a whole different perspective on working methods and work ethics. Multigenerational workforces also have common characteristics. For example, the millennials and the X-ers share an affinity with technology and value continual development. So, you can figure out the best way to incorporate tech and traditional tools integrations whenever and wherever they need them.

Therefore, all the generations that work together should overcome what they’ve thought and heard about each other. This is the first step to a harmonious collaboration. Managers and HR professionals should organize workshops and activities to help the staff understand each other. Understanding leads to an appreciation of each other’s qualities regardless of age.

Create a feeling of belonging

Set aside the methodological and working challenges that different generations in the workforce face. Focus on the one uniting element that can smooth over any kind of discrepancies.  That is the sense of community because managing multigenerational teams in your workforce should have a strong humane side.

It is common knowledge that people that have enough opportunities to socialize and connect are far more goal-oriented and productive at what they do. Naturally, this means that bonding your workforce should be at the center of your attention. Arranging excursions, office parties, group activities, and even games (yes, games) can bring together different age groups.

Manage cultural differences

Age diversity in the workplace has cultural and educational implications on teamwork. To manage a multigenerational workforce, you need knowledge. Knowledge of the personality traits, educational background, as well as the socio-economic conditions that affect each person. People have various academic credentials, experience, and training in their lives. Academic people tend to think higher of themselves compared to the ones that have on-the-job training and vocational diplomas. Another thing to consider is a person’s place of origin. Professionals coming from big cities have a faster working pace when compared to small-town natives.

Finally, ethnicity is a factor as important as age. Ethnic backgrounds can affect communication, create language barriers, and generally impact productivity. This sounds like a tough situation to handle. If an employer takes into account the different cultures and age diversity in the workplace, managing a multigenerational workforce will bring overwhelmingly positive results for everyone.

So, to be honest, the multigenerational workforce challenges are plenty. But not insurmountable. Employers and managers should create an effective strategy to bring employees together professionally and personally. Demolishing cultural barriers can bring about unity. Then, the managers should incorporate technology in the workflow in a controlled and user-friendly way. Of course, building up your staff’s technological literacy takes time and effort. But in the long run, it will all be worth it!