"We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach." - Gloria Steinem.
The generation gap at the workplace refers to the differences in values, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs between people of different ages. Each generation is born and grown up in a contrasting context and this plays a major role in their behavior, psyche, and expectations. There’s no doubt that the generation gap at the workplace plays a major role in the success or failure of business enterprises. With five different generations working together in an organisation, it has become extremely significant for businesses to acknowledge generational differences and implement the right measures.
Each generation has its own characteristics including technological influences, general consciousness, workplace attitude, and ways of living. Fostering different generations with utmost decency is critical for businesses to cater to different sets of target audiences with efficiency. Concepts like diversity and inclusion in the workplace play an important part in managing the generation gap as well because it develops a sense of basic value etiquette.
Moving further in this blog, we will speak about how generations are distinguished and the advantages of generational diversity to a business organisation.
How are Generations Distinguished?
Considering the need for hosting team-building exercises, companies are engaging different generations at the workplace to bring the workforce together across different departments. This can encourage people to work together with empathy. The current generations have been classified into the following six major groups.
The Greatest Generation
Born between 1901 to 1924, this group grew up during the great depression and most likely fought in World War II.
The Silent Generation
Born between 1925 to 1945, they’re called “silent’ because of the lack of protestation. These people are well known for accepting the authorities rather than speaking out against them.
Baby Boomers Generation
Born between 1946 to 1964, the baby boomers are often characterized by optimism and prosperous consumerism. The name “baby boomer” was derived from the “boom” in population following World War II.
Born between 1965 to 1980, they’re also recognised as the “Baby Busters”. This generation is characterized by rebellion, reactionism, and self-reliance, and on top of that lies mistrust of institutional authority.
Born between 1981 to 1996, Millennials are also referred to as “Generation Y”. People from this generation are the ones who witnessed the rise of the Internet and dealt with the financial crisis.
Born between 1997 to 2012, Gen Z are the ones who are more diverse than any other generation. They’re the ones who are handy with technological advancements and are more vocal when it comes to their rights and belief systems.
So, these are the 6 major generations. Today, Millennials and Gen Z at the workplace are making a prominent impact in the company's new initiatives towards creativity and development. Now let's head toward the benefits of generational diversity for large, medium, and growing enterprises.
Advantages of Generational Diversity to Modern-Day Business Organisations
Generational diversity can be defined as the presence of people from different generations that are working together to attain a predetermined goal and objective. As we said, Millennials and Gen Z are the two generations that have a major proportion in the workplace. Both these generations bring unique experiences, perspectives, and skills to the workplace. Here are some of the advantages of generational diversity to modern-day business entities:
Many businesses overlook the importance of the generation gap in an organisation because they simply feel that this can cause several problems within the company. But on the other hand, many businesses are implementing the right measures to bridge the generational and cultural gap for the betterment of the company. Millennials are obviously more experienced on the ground level whereas Gen Z is gifted with technology and innovation. By bringing experience and young blood together, companies can surely adapt to the new ways of working.
Mentoring and Learning
There’s no doubt that people from Gen Z are highly educated, skilled, capable, confident, and vocal. This is what an ideal employee looks like, but there’s only one thing that they lack, and that is experience. Constant monitoring and guidance from the people of other generations can help these young blokes to follow the right path that can help them in their professional journeys. Meanwhile, these experienced people can also learn new and advanced ways of technology.
Succession planning is one of the best advantages of ensuring generational diversity in the workplace for business entities. It is the process of identifying and developing potential successors for key leadership positions in an organisation. It involves assessing the current talent pool, identifying high-potential employees, and developing their skills and competencies to ensure that they are ready to assume leadership roles when needed. Mentoring the right people with the right approach can help businesses to find and acknowledge potential candidates who can further lead the team toward success.
Flexibility and Agility
Flexibility and agility are essential components when it comes to managing generational diversity in the workplace. Different generations have different preferences when it comes to work arrangements. For example, older employees may prefer a traditional 9-to-5 workday, while younger employees may prefer flexible working hours or remote work. By offering flexible work arrangements, employers can accommodate the preferences of different generations and improve employee satisfaction.
Creating agile teams that can adapt quickly to changing circumstances can help organisations to stay ahead of the curve. These teams should be diverse in terms of age, experience, and skill set, allowing them to tackle complex challenges and innovate more effectively.
Office Spaces in 2023 are transforming with the aim of catering to a diversified workforce. Companies are now leaving their traditional workspaces and moving into full-fledged flexible workspaces to empower their workforce. Flexible and managed workspaces are packed with modern-day office amenities that can help employees to work with greater efficiency.
When experienced and young individuals work together, they tend to communicate in an ideal way to solve the problem. When people from different generations learn to communicate effectively with each other, it can lead to a more productive and harmonious work environment.
So, it won’t be wrong to state that the generation gap at the workplace can help businesses to move in the right direction and achieve their pre-determined goals and objectives. To effectively manage the generation gap in an organisation, it is imperative to promote open communication, provide opportunities for cross-generational collaboration, and offer training and development programs that address the unique needs and preferences of different generations. By fostering a culture of diversity, inclusivity, and understanding, businesses can harness the strengths and perspectives of all generations to drive innovation and growth.