In a recent Parade magazine Sunday supplement, the featured article was on “Millennials vs. Boomers,” so you know that this topic has hit the mainstream discussion. Those of you in business grappling with the tension between and among the generations within the workplace know the challenges of dealing with multiple cohort groups under the same roof. What to do?
Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-1964) are redefining the workplace because they are not leaving for retirement. Not only do they feel the financial need to work, they enjoy working and still “live to work.” Millennials (those born between 1981-1997) are also redefining the workplace in that they are the most technically savvy generation ever, they “work to live,” and want to create that work environment to suit their rules of work-life balance. Sheer numbers of millennials are driving corporate culture change as they comprise almost 25% of the workforce.
In a recent opinion poll of Boomer managers, 60% of employers said they are experiencing conflict between and among the generations, and 70% of managers are “dismissive” of the capabilities of younger workers. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel if each group understands the other and is willing to meet in the middle. Most managers are Boomers or a few years younger and steeped in a more “traditional” approach of top-down management; i.e. position power outranks personal influence. However, millennials are challenging the status quo and therein lie the conflicts.
Managers who have been successful transcending this new workplace reality have taken on core competencies in adapting to the millennials, communicating in different ways, and creating the visions with them for the next generation in the workplace. It is critical that there is success here because the millennials are not only not going away, they are your future business leaders. In turn, assisting millennials in adapting to Boomer managers, being able to communicate in ways that are acceptable and sharing the visions are skill sets that must be articulated and shared.
Find out how to navigate this new workplace adventure on October 21st from 1:00-3:30 pm in Mattoon at the Life Span Center. If you cannot attend, we can have a session for your managers and employees in your workplace. These can be exciting opportunities for those willing and able to adapt and move successfully into the next decade.