3 Ways to Lead a Generationally Diverse Organization
When you embrace the changing workforce, your organization can thrive. Combine energy, experience, and knowledge across the generations for a winning combination!
As an organizational leader, you have no doubt experienced great disruption in the past three years. One of the biggest impacts happening across the board is the changing workforce.
Baby Boomers are leaving in a mass exodus, while many Gen Xers are re-evaluating their priorities, which have shifted away from traditional work norms, or are leaving the workplace altogether. With the workforce majority now being comprised of Millennials and Gen Z, their work styles and expectations have become the norm. Yet, many organizations are still trying to catch up to understand how these generations work.
For the past decade, employer trends have focused heavily on the Millennials, the oldest of whom are now in their early 40s. There has been significant research and discussion on the ways this often-misunderstood demographic has changed the workplace. The focus on Millennials brought workplace generational diversity to the forefront at a time when social media allowed it to gain even more attention than generations of the past. One thing we know, however, is that with every new generation that comes along, there are generations before it who often endured many of the same stereotypes and concerns.
With that being said, we know that world events shape you, and there is much to learn from generalizations. So now that the dust has begun to settle on Millennials, attention is shifting to Generation Z (ages 26 and younger). Dramatic shifts in our technology—from social media to ChatGPT—are exacerbating the distinctions within the workforce, and how leaders must adjust their mindset and strategies to leverage this labor.
Like the Boomers and Gen Xers before them, these groups have distinct core values and personalities, which can create conflict and misconceptions in the workplace. However, when correctly utilized, these differences can create a more positive and cohesive work environment.
Embrace the Changing Workforce
To start embracing the changing workforce, consider implementing these three concepts:
1. Create Pilot Teams
Pilot Teams are a safe experiment to try in the workplace. Start by assigning a generationally diverse, cross-departmental team to work on an internal effort. This will accomplish two things: 1) It breaks down silos. 2) It allows you to see the successes and challenges that occurred during the project.
2. Innovate How You Work Together
There is not a “one size fits all” solution for how a generationally diverse team should work together. It depends on a variety of factors such as personality, work culture, environment, etc. So, how do you determine the best way to work together? Define the operating rules as a team.
3. Turn the Generational Mix into a Benefit
Create mentorships between Millennials and Baby Boomers, and Gen Z and Gen X. There are similarities between every other generation. For example, Millennials and Baby Boomers are both very social and like to collaborate in teams. Millennials are motivated by personal development and crave the opportunity to learn. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, enjoy teamwork, and have years of knowledge and experience to share. This is a great opportunity for working together in a positive way.
Gen Z is very action focused and prefers “doing” over “talking.” This is similar with Gen Xers, who are very “To-Do List” driven. With this mentorship, you are combining energy, speed, and experience, which is a winning combination. Additionally, you are creating an opportunity for knowledge sharing and succession planning to occur.
TRANSFORM DISRUPTION INTO OPPORTUNITY
We know that the world is changing. But be assured that your organization can capitalize on the evolving workforce! Contact me to learn about my workplace generational keynote speaking, executive coaching, and facilitation services.