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Recognise that there will be differences
It’s to be expected that with a whole new generation having joined the workforce, there will be differences, some big some small, in their professional requirements and approaches. A few months ago, Forbes released an article on the workplace trends of 2017 highlighting just this. For example, it went on to describe how “Gen Zs” and “Millennials” will continue to put pressure on companies to provide benefits, specifically soft benefits, and encourage employers to transform their offices to keep up with changing times. Like previous generations, each generational workforce will have an opinion of the next – whether this is accurate to a degree or not. So, it’s important to take note of how each generation in the office interacts effectively and what drives them. Managerial practices must adapt, incorporate, and consider these differences if management is to be successful.
Do not stereotype
However, while there will be clear differences in the way each generation approaches their work and is best motivated by their employer, the most crucial thing to remember is that your employee is more than their generational status. They are individual employees, each with their own strengths and weaknesses and should be managed as such. The Harvard Business Review published an article summing-up this same approach; “It’s your job to help your employees recognize that they each have distinct sets of skills and different things they bring to the table”. Succinctly explained one management style doesn’t’ work for every employee, or as it was also phrased in the Harvard Business Review; “Everyone’s needs are different, so we can’t be a one-size-fits-all [employer] ”.
Find common ground
Management is instrumental in bringing together all the potential and talents of employees, to create a workplace conducive to a productive and happy environment. As referred to in the same piece by the Harvard Business Review, you can use such management practices to enable your employees to really excel at their work; but there is also a lot to be learned from employees of different generations, and this should be used to your advantage. If there is tension between management and their colleagues because of age difference, it’s time to build collaborative relationships. To ask what you can learn from each other and to take the opportunity to provide training (which goes both ways), and provide mentorship. This allows for a flexible and harmonious working environment that uses any differences to build up a stronger and more progressive workforce.
Some food for thought! We hope this has inspired you to make the most of your employees of every age. Have you got any tips for managing different generations in the workforce? For more helpful advice see our prior post, How to Keep Your Retail Team Motivated Throughout January.
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