Age Gap Clash-At Work-The War No One Wins.
All along I had comfort working with the millennial generation. I belong to the cuspers between Gen. X and the Millennial Generation. I disliked working with the people from Gen. X. I hate to attend meetings, I do not prefer face to face conversations unless it is necessary. I came across many workplaces where they do not open work email instead they look for a person to talk face to face. The productivity halts until the solution is attained in person.
The crucial generations playing actively at the typical workplace are Generation X (1960-1980), Millenial (1980-2000), and Generation Z (2000- onward). The generation Z is entering the active workforce. Cuspers are those who were born at the end or the beginning of the classification of generations. All these generations are loosely defined. Every generation has communication and behavior stereotypes, cuspers can fall into either production or can have characteristics of both the ages. We raise the kids in technology savvy world has created the stark generational difference.
Now because I fall in Cuspers of generations, I was forced to have face to face conversations and some email conversations at the workplace. I always advocated communication via texts over email. The reason is text communications are accessible to notify, access and answer. In the midst of meetings, text communications are possible. They are short and straightforward. I faced harsh resistance in the preferred method of communication as one of the co-workers never used cellphone ever!
Eventually, I learned that how I can streamline communication when everyone has a generational stereotype in their preferred communication and behavior. It is fascinating to know, that how people communicate with each other and approves or rejects the idea based on age difference, how they grew up and finds a happy communication that embraces technology while satisfying difference in generational preferences. Generational preferences are mostly based on the technology exposure of the individuals while they grew up.
There are always benefits and drawbacks, of its own.
Traditional (Gen.X) Vs Millennial Mind Set.
The millennial mind wants to stay connected to a cell phone and do not prefer face to face conversations and arguments. They downplay debates and avoid them by avoiding a person. They can not follow the additional strict rules and are more innovative. Millennials are to blame for a cultural shift and having more sense of entitlement because they are the first one to get plugged into the faster information system. This, in turn, can cause conflict with older workers who have been making policy binders and printing emails on papers. They wait to talk in person and reduce productivity. Frequently, Millennial perceive lack of respect for a traditional mind and Gen. X for inability to deal with technology whereas Gen X regarded them inferior for using technology so-called "Short Cuts" and boasting around about how hard they worked in "their time."
Loss of face to face contact has made a significant reduction in the interpersonal skills and empathy. If there is a conflict at the workplace, Gen X exhibits the most interpersonal skills over a millennial generation. They understand millennials more than the other way around. Meetings and discussions in-person help to improve interpersonal skills and empathy over co-workers. The seamless source of information at the tip of the hand doesn't make anyone expert in real skills. That is where Gen. X score.
Millennia Vs. Gen. Z
The millennial generation has preserved the identification and definition of "The Boss." The boss has a unique role in their professional life and the workplace. The Gen. Z is growing up in the environment of social media. They want to stay connected with the boss over social media. They prefer to communicate via twitter and snap-chat. Generation Z is the most radical generation who do not care about money or value but follow passion and disruptors. Millennials are better negotiators over Gen Z. This generation is likely to experience symptoms of withdrawal if we deprive them of technology. Gen. Z is the most protective and grew up with the most gadgets and technology. This generation harbors the sense of entitlement over self-worth.
The change in generation attributed to technology and bring a drift among different age. It could be a tricky situation when we work all together in one environment and interact frequently.
So How to handle the workplace situation and bridge the generational gap?
Communication and Ongoing Learning
Bridge the gap by bringing in the conventional communication method where everyone uses the same when it comes to working. Continuing learning for Gen. X and more interpersonal classes for Gen Z and everything in-between approach can bring all employee close to each other. Increase accessibility of communication depends on their comfort level.
Skills and Training.
Generation X and early millennial like to learn through traditional instructor-based and on hand training while new generations like technology incorporated, interactive and virtual reality-based training. Let them choose the training module they want to prefer for optimal outcome.
Dynamical of Work Place.
Bring the culture of dynamism at the workplace. Encourage Gen X and early millennial to accept a change as a new opportunity for learning and growth. Whereas Gen. Z is exceptionally accustomed to change. The acceptance and tolerance to change increases as generation moves away from Gen. X toward Gen. Z. The timings of approval also vary between age difference and perception of changes.
Mix and Match, Customize.
Create a set of strengths and weaknesses among employees and mix and match for optimization. One pair of shoes does not fit all. Everyone has their own personalized needs to attain a common goal. Let anyone lead irrespective of age and gender. After all, an idea does not see age or gender, and the road to achievement is quicker and smoother.
So, get ready for a new generation in the workforce who are screen gazers, and natives of the digital world who have everything existed in the virtual world. It is possible that reality can be an adventure in their life.
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