Human resources: Embrace generational differences

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Q. How can I accommodate multiple generations in the workplace?

A. This article will address the increasingly ubiquitous, and often delicate, challenge faced by leaders who manage a multigenerational workplace, sometimes with four (and soon to be five) generations of employees in their organization. While significant research has been conducted on this perplexing situation, the question itself is predicated upon stereotypical differences between Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, millennials and baby boomers.

Frequently heard stereotypes include “baby boomers don’t know how to use technology,” and “millennials are lazy.” While research shows there are different generational trends among populations, relying on these types of cliché generalizations would unquestionably interfere with successful leadership.

Rather than attempting to tackle the most effective methods of managing a multigenerational workforce, leaders should instead focus on best practices associated with heading a diverse workforce.

A good leader understands, embraces and capitalizes on the differences among all of their employees. The goal of our recent DISC assessment, conducted across our top 100 employees, was to 1) facilitate helping employees understand their own personalities from a different perspective, and 2) inform and support employees regarding various preferred styles of motivation and communication and how to apply this to their professional relationships. Recognizing these communication variances is critical for a work environment to thrive. Once a leader and his/her team understands and implements practices to support this, the goal should then be to identify a unifying purpose that transcends all differences among the workforce.

When individuals feel like they are on the same team, they don’t focus on the obstacles that their differences may present. Instead, they focus on their similarities and a unifying goal. Let’s not engage in generational warfare. Let’s embrace our differences and harness growth for a better tomorrow.

Laizer Kornwasser is president/COO at CareCentrix. Reach him at laizer.kornwasser@carecentrix.com.