For the first time in history, the workforce spans of four generations.1 How can you get the twenty-something tech wizard, the project manager who´s also a Korean War veteran, the Baby Boomer admin assistant and the Gen X salesperson to come together as a motivated, effective team?
A recent Boomer-era observer summed up the multi-generational problem nicely when he said, “My dad was early. I am on time. My son is running late, and his son is logged on but otherwise elsewhere, we think. Good thing we're not making widgets."
Inter-generational differences don´t just make the workplace interesting; they can make or break the bottom line. Eighty percent of Fortune 500 Executives say that communication across generations is a major workplace challenge.
The explosion of technology in the past few decades has also taken its toll on inter-generational relationships. Research shows that a third of the “Millenial“ or Y Generation rates their technology at home as superior to what they have in their workplaces. Compare that with Boomers´ and Traditionalists´ struggles to adapt to new software and other tools of the 21st century, and the multi-generational challenge of building a cohesive work force starts to come into sharper focus.
Businesses that can learn to leverage the strengths of each generation and create common ground for motivation and communication will have a distinct advantage. This is just one of the diversity issues in the workplace that can plague a business´s efficiency and effectiveness.