5 Ways To Break Down The Generational Walls In Your Workplace Culture
Those of us in HR and Leadership roles have seen too many walls go up between the different generations. There’s mistrust and unease all around. The Millennials consider the Boomers a bunch of old fogeys. The Xers feel caught between. Boomers can be condescending and closed-minded. And who suffers most because of this generational dysfunction? The organization! Performance and profits. For leaders the challenge is clear: get everyone on the same page/screen. Here are five ways to break down the generational walls in your workplace culture.
1) Foster Communication
Get people together, informally, to talk about the new digital reality and what it means to the individual. Xers especially can feel inadequate about their lack of social-media skills. The more dialogue the better. And it’s good for (sometimes smug and hipper-than-thou) Millennials to be exposed to other generations. Just because someone isn’t a computer whiz doesn’t mean they’re not an amazing talent.
The sheer volume and variety in the digital world can be overwhelming. Offer classes and training to Xers and Boomers. Pair them up with Millennial mentors. Many people are shy about admitting their lack of digital skills; once they’re taught the basics, they find they love it. The goal here is build a basic comfort level across the organization.
Optimal results depend of getting everyone comfortable, communicating, and working from the same baseline.
3) Be Flexible With Digital-Skill Levels
Some very talented people have no interest in spending endless hours on the computer. Sing their praises! Yes, they need the basic skills to connect them to the organizational nervous system and optimize their performance, but beyond that they can be Luddites. It’s SO important for HR and Leaders to understand that every talented person is different. There’s massive societal pressure these days to conform, to be plugged in online all the time. A lot of amazing people would rather spend their free time on other pursuits.
4) Create A Baseline
This is a site that unites. Something user-friendly that everyone can be a part of. This provides a foundation across the organization; it engages and inspires people. It literally puts everyone on the same page.
5) Be True To Your Culture
As with all business lessons, one size fits no one. You want to tailor your generational bridge-building to suit the specific needs of your enterprise. For some companies, the need is more urgent than others. Take an inventory of where things stand and develop your plan accordingly.
The future is here. Techno and digital tools rule. The rules in the World of Work are changing big time. All true. But optimal results depend of getting everyone comfortable, communicating, and working from the same baseline. Because the possibilities and opportunities are so vast in this new reality, the challenge is an exciting one.
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Image credit: bowie15 / 123RF Stock Photo
Editor’s Note: This article has been repurposed from Meghan’s Forbes column, with permission.