Relationship Building Through the Generational Divide

Posted by Joanne Romero on Apr 16, 2021 2:15:10 PM

The-Great-Generational-DivideI remember my mom would make sure I had a quarter in my pocket in case I had to make an emergency call while out with friends. The quarter obviously for the payphone. Do you remember using the payphone? How about when watching your first music video? MTV was a big thing back in the early 80s. Some of us can remember those firsts in our culture yet for some of our colleagues, that transition from “how it was” to “how it is” did not happen. It just always was.

It is likely that your current workplace has between four to five different generations working on the job today. Within those different generations, we have different values, customs, habits, and expectations. As a GenXer, I prefer to call a client and may not be so savvy with social medial. However, my Millennial colleague may prefer to email the client and probably works a bit faster than me.

We want to remove ourselves from stereotypes about younger or older colleagues. Different generations need to understand each other and work well together. This is a rare opportunity to build a dynamic multi-generational workforce. Each generation brings a different skill set, ideology, and experience. For example, your baby boomer coworker is ready to leave the workplace as the youngest today is about 56 years old. This coworker may have a lot of job knowledge that must be transferred. The Generation X co-worker’s work history may indicate longevity at one workplace but may lack formal higher education. The Millennial coworker more than likely is better educated and works faster. The oldest of the Gen Z generation is about 23 years old and these co-workers may prefer less face-to-face contact with others and maybe less naïve.

According to the Pew Research Center, the United States has undergone large cultural and societal shifts. This allows the workplace to be equipped for industry changes and challenges. The workforce now has a different face and frame of reference to help navigate through the generations. Each generation has its own strengths and weaknesses, and we must keep in the forefront that connection makes or breaks a relationship.

Helpful tools such as a Pulse survey or Training Within Industry (TWI) programs can help your organization maneuver through this generation shift and equip your workforce with the right tools. A short survey can assist in exposing the thoughts of your workforce, help better understand your workforce, and help to enhance engagement. Consider the type of employees you need to train and how best to do the training. As baby boomers are leaving the workforce is it crucial to transfer that knowledge. TWI can help with skills to establish a culture for change, improve methods and facilitate standard work. As you are navigating through working among this generational divide, you need to consider what are the traits, beliefs, and life experiences that mark each generation which is influencing how they work, communicate and respond to change.

Get in touch with IMEC for guidance and support in addressing the generational divide in your organization and strengthening your workforce.


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Joanne Romero

Written by Joanne Romero

Topics: employee engagement, manufacturing, training within industry, workforce, twi, Leadership, Workforce Development, Diversity and Inclusion, diversity, workforce solutions, multigeneration, pulse survey

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