Managing a multigenerational workforce

While static between generations has always existed, it’s more profound in the digital age. Managing a multigenerational workforce means creating an environment which enables discussion and collaboration between generations, so they can start to understand each other’s differences.

Moheb Moses, director, Channel Dynamics, and ANZ community director, CompTIA, said, “Businesses must comprehend the way different generations behave without boxing them into preconceived ideas, which can stunt talent and growth. The key to taking advantage of the diverse collection of experiences is to adopt a listening position. Today’s business needs this multigenerational workforce, and the organisations that have figured that out are excelling. Businesses should consider adapting in the areas of technology, office culture and communication to make the most of their workforce.”

1. Technology. Millennials are digital natives, fluent in technologies that used to require a learning curve. Cloud computing and mobile devices have also ushered in new behaviours and attitudes. Companies are building new architectures, redefining workflows and prioritising data and security. Businesses should take advantage of the mix of generations and technologies in play. Identify the team members who are in tune with the latest technologies and make them leaders in the group. Mine the knowledge of the technically competent amongst the team and have them teach others what tools to use, and how.

2. Office culture. Employee well-being, and a company’s impact on society, are more important in today’s office culture than before, and rank higher than short-term financial goals and personal financial benefit, according to research from Deloitte. (1) Whiteboard covered idea rooms and the flexibility to break from the traditional 9-to-5 workday are some of the newest additions to today’s office. Creativity flows when people can be authentic, and sometimes that’s not possible under the glare of fluorescent lights. The most rigid aspects of any organisation are the ones most likely to break, so be less apprehensive about initiatives such as flexible scheduling and telecommuting.

3. Communication. Phone calls, fax machines and even email, can feel outmoded in the world of video chats and instant messaging. Thankfully, the medium matters less than the message. People want to understand and be understood, no matter what generation. A question-filled conversation with a young worker can come across as a random collection of thoughts, but that’s only because their minds are always multitasking. Consider adopting new communication styles to work with millennials. Success comes when employees know they have been heard. Motivating, engaging, and retaining people will never cease as managerial priorities. The best managers are available to listen and help solve problems when employees need support.

CompTIA has just released its Quick Start Guide to Managing a Multigenerational Workforce, which provides essential office updates for successful multigenerational management.