Improve engagement of your diverse workforce with tips for bridging the generational gap among employees. 

Six tips for managing employees across the generations

In a workforce that is composed of a uniquely large number of generational groups, business leaders can be challenged to keep employees engaged — engaged with each other, with their teams and with the company itself. Backgrounds are different. Communication styles are different. And the friction can increase when work patterns bring together employees of differing ages in constantly changing teams.

WorkplaceValues72dpi.jpgBut this unique workforce demographic can also work in your favor, says Hal Morgan, director of participant content and communications for Ceridian LifeWorks. “When you find a way to foster communication among age groups, you create new energy,” he says. “This represents a unique opportunity for business success.”

Company leaders can set the stage for improved productivity by taking action to keep all age groups engaged, focused and involved. When leaders can better manage employees of all ages, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Below are six tips to help improve employee engagement across the generations.                          

Best practices for managing an intergenerational workforce:

1. Become educated about generational issues. Understand all of the generations in your workforce. Acquaint yourself with the issues that each generation faces, both at work and at home.

2. Avoid age stereotypes. Don’t judge people or pigeonhole them because of their age; some 65-year-olds are technology experts and some 25-year-olds have much to teach their older colleagues.

3. Manage to the unique strengths and needs of each generation. Consider each person’s situation and offer support around that. Gen Xers, for example, may represent a large percentage of your managers, but they are also likely to be raising young children, which may affect how flexible they can be with their time and location.

4. Support learning and career development across all age groups. Promote learning and development by “jumping the generations” to ensure that mentors and mentees are not in direct competition. This encourages “bi-directional” coaching, which is a good way to help employees build positive working relationships with each other.

5. Don't assume that conflict at work is due to generational issues. Every organization has conflict, but this isn’t necessarily because one person is 20 years older or younger than another. Assumptions about people and age groups can inhibit problem solving.

6. Build a strong multigenerational work group. Be inclusive of perspectives and points of view, and make an effort to work inclusively and collaboratively. Create an atmosphere in which everyone feels they have the opportunity to contribute, lead and speak.

Engaging diversity to bring value to your business

In general, employees across generations are more similar than they are different. Employees all want the same things: fair compensation, the opportunity to learn, advance and be successful, a supportive manager and meaningful work. This shared meaning is at the heart of employee engagement.

When individuals of all ages are authentically engaged and work together effectively, surprising value can be created for your company.

Jennifer Piliero, senior product manager for Ceridian LifeWorks, says, “Engage every person in your organization, no matter what their age, and you can discover a distinct opportunity to create business success.”

Companies that embrace generational diversity experience many of the following:

  • Increased productivity throughout the workforce
  • Improved employee retention
  • Improved value production from managers  
  • Increased morale and engagement

“While it’s normal and natural for people to see things differently from one another,” says Marianne Jacobbi, senior editor at Ceridian LifeWorks, “that diversity of viewpoints and perspectives can be a powerful thing. To create synergy across generations, we must start with empathy.”

Applying these best practices for managing employees across generations can not only improve relationships and engagement among employees, but it can also bring value to your organization.

For more information:

  • View our infographic
  • Read more about managing workforce age diversity
  • Learn about Ceridian LifeWorks solutions