Multiple Generations – A Recipe for Dynamic Collaboration at Work

By Julie Yates, Director – Learning & Development

Did you know that there are 5 different generations currently in the workforce today? Unbelievable, but true! We now have individuals representing the Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y/Millennials, and even Gen Z working in all types of organizations today. These employees may be full-time, part-time, temps, contractors, freelancers or even interns – but regardless, it’s a real melting pot of generations that we are lucky enough to have as ingredients of a dynamic workforce.

Why is this such an important fact? Think about all the values, perspectives, skills, and experiences each generation can offer. Let me put it this way…..imagine you have several individuals on a team that all think alike, have the exact same background and experiences, and share the same expectations, motivations and ideas. How different do you think the perspectives of the team’s objectives will be? Not very. So with such a dynamic workforce today, think about how to leverage these varying viewpoints, experiences and thoughts. Let’s capture the value each generation brings to the table for the good of the team, company, and world!

How? It’s simple. Awareness, acceptance and appreciation. While there are stereotypes and myths about each generation, avoid believing them and find out for yourself who your co-workers are. The solutions lies within each of us – yes, YOU and ME.

First, be aware of what each generation can contribute – their strengths, experience and value. Learn more about others by engaging in conversation, providing team building opportunities, and simply taking the time to get to know each other better. You may be surprised what a Traditionalist can teach a Millennial about the history of the company, or what an intern can teach an older employee about technology.

Next, accept that they may share different values than you and I, and have different styles or preferences. Accept that there may be things that are more challenging for some than others. Get over it and move on. Understand that it takes all kinds of people to achieve success and move an organization and the world forward.

Lastly, appreciate the beauty in diversity. Diversity of thought is a gift to everyone in the workforce. Don’t miss out on it.

With 5 generations in the workforce, there is a call to action smacking us right in our faces. Two big trends have been forecasted. First, Traditionalists and even Boomers plan to retire in the next several years. And second, Millennials are expected to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 and 75% by 2025.

With these major shifts in the workforce, organizations need to prepare. Now is the time to transition the knowledge, history, and legacies from the older generations to the newer generations. What better way to enhance multi-generational collaboration than to have these generations work together to make this transition happen? Better yet, why not have the Traditionalists and Boomers teach the Gen Xs, Ys and Zs the ropes? We’ll all be better for it. Our world will be better for it.

The future of work is now. Catapult can help prepare your organization for the future.

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