Bridging the Generational Gap

Business people teamHave you set a retirement date yet? Probably not. According to a Gallup survey baby boomers are working longer and that’s generally thought to be due to the loss of investment value during the recession and other money related factors. What that means is that for the first time in history, there may be five generations working in your firm. The upside is the diversity in experiences, education and points of view. Downside: how to motivate everyone to work well together.  Some ideas from a recent Harvard Business Review article may help you rethink how you bridge the generational gap.

1.  Build collaborative relationships:  Create partnerships among co-workers. Encourage the team to discuss projects openly, with each person’s point of view getting equal respect.

2. Study your employees: Whether formal or informal, touch base with employees to learn more about what they want from the jobs – each generation may have a different set of goals. Then use that information to enhance, maybe even revise, your approach to managing your staff.

3.  Create cross-generational mentoring opportunities: Pair younger workers with seasoned executives. A 25 year old may use technology much differently than a 60 year old who can help give perspective and background to other aspects of the work.

The benefits of multiple generations certainly outweigh any downside, so make a plan to bridge the gap and build a strong, diverse team.