Dear Readers, we certainly owe Laura Dillingham, Senior Strategic Partner, a debt of gratitude for her terrific series on Leading the Generational Workforce. In this final article, Laura ties together what we have shared with you and works to help you see the value of understanding the differences in the generations and how hiring from all of the generations can enrich the culture of your organization, properly managed. 

PLEASE do not forget to register for our webinar on this topic on Thursday, November 20th at 8:00 AM PST.

Generations have been shaped by the events and trends during their lifetime and this creates challenges for management. Management must first acknowledge and understand the differences. This will help avoid misunderstanding and miscommunicating. Management then must help their teams work together effectively to become productive and meet departmental and ultimately organizational goals and objectives.

So what can organizations and more specifically, management and leadership, do to assist this mixed multi-generational workforce and their organizations? Some suggestions they may want to consider are:

  • Understand the differences between the generations, their values, strengths and the trends that helped shape them.
  • Train all employees on generational characteristics for each generation.
  • Model the behavior that is expected from each employee.
  • Embrace the differences in each generation and avoid stereotypes.
  • Establish an organizational culture based on understanding and respect for the differences and strengths each generation brings to the workplace.
  • Acknowledge the experience of mature workers; respect the talents of newer workers.
  • Utilize multiple types of communication such as instant messaging, meetings, Skype, email, etc.
  • Treat your employees as you do your customers, learn all you can about them, work to meet their specific needs and serve them according to their unique preferences.
  • Make an effort to accommodate personal scheduling needs, work/life balance issues and nontraditional lifestyles.
  • Don’t adopt a one size fits all philosophy, use multiple types of training opportunities and training styles such as discussion groups, one-on-one coaching with feedback, online learning, and a traditional teacher-student classroom.
  • Offer training topics that are appropriate for all experience levels.
  • Allow the workplace to shape itself around the work being done, the customers being served and the people who work there.
  • Shorten the chain of command and decrease bureaucracy.
  • Give those who report to you the big picture and specific goals and then let go.
  • Give feedback, rewards and recognition as appropriate.
  • Treat everyone as if they have great things to offer and are motivated to do their best.
  • Hire carefully to assure a good match between people and work (HPISolutions recommends using Job Benchmarking).
  • Provide benefit packages that reflect the priorities of all generations.

Managing the mixture of ages, faces, values and views is an increasingly difficult task. So how do successful companies find commonality and handle this dilemma? According to Generations at Work, “they build nontraditional workplaces, exhibit flexibility, emphasize respectful relations and focus on retaining talented employees.”

To learn about applying the concepts listed in this Power Idea in your workplace, register to attend our one hour webinar on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 8:00 AM PST.