Are you managing a team with members from many different generations? If so, you’re part of a growing trend in the United States.
In today’s workplace, it’s not at all unusual to find members of three, or even four different generations working side by side on the same team. Yet, there are some significant differences between the different generations. Here’s what you need to know to manage a multi-generational staff.
Understanding the Generations
If your small business workforce is multi-generational, you need to understand about the differences between the various generations. At the same time, don’t stereotype your workers based on their generation.
Learn everything you can about each generation, but also get to know your workers as individuals. Not every worker fits neatly into a generational profile.
Here’s an overview of current generations in the workforce and a broad description of generational tendencies for each:
- Generation Y or Millenials (Born 1984 to 2004). Generally speaking, these workers are more technologically savvy. They tend to value workplace flexibility and independence. Their communication style involves mobile devices and even text messages.
- Generation X (Born 1966 to 1983). Coming behind the large baby boom generation, many Generation X workers overlooked in terms of workplace advancement. Many give up on the idea of working for someone else and start their own companies. They tend to prefer email communication over face-to-face communication.
- Baby Boomers (Born 1946 to 1965). While some baby boomers are starting to retire, many have delayed retirement due to recent economic downturns. This generation is known for having a strong work ethic. Promotions and other recognition can be strong motivators.
- Mature (Born before 1946). Many members of this generation are retired, but some have returned to the workforce to supplement their retirement income or even just to occupy their time. They tend to be hard workers who respect authority. Their life experience can be invaluable to an organization.
Recognize Everyone’s Contribution
As a manager, you naturally fall into one of the generations described above. You might naturally find it easier to relate to others of your generation. Don’t fall into the trap of preferring your own generation.
Make it a point to recognize everyone’s contribution equally. Be sure to make effective use of each employee’s unique knowledge and skillset. Humanity can help you track that information so that no employee’s skills are overlooked.
Also, encourage workers to interact with one another regardless of generation. One way to accomplish this is through a formal or informal mentoring program where experienced workers share their knowledge with newer members of your team.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Communication is key to running any business, but it’s especially important when you have a multi-generational staff. Know the best method for reaching each generation and make use of as many communication methods as you need to in order to get your message across.
Your schedule is probably one of the most important ways that you communicate with your workers. Absent or late workers or overscheduling can cost your business a significant amount of money.
Fortunately, with new technology, it is much easier to customize your communication to the needs of your staff. Humanity, for example, lets you automatically provide real-time schedule information to your employees in the following ways:
Ping. Use Ping to quickly reach your staff through email and SMS.
Message wall. The message wall provides a centralized location where your can leave messages for your employees and share events, ideas, birthdays, and more.
Private inbox. Communicate directly with a specific group of your employees through email. Employees can check their email inbox for shift information 24/7 from any computer. All browser types are supported.
SMS messaging. This feature automatically sends shift reminders and other messages directly to the employee’s mobile device.
As you can see, you can communicate effectively, automatically, and securely with any of your employees. Best of all, your workers can also easily participate in the scheduling process.
Are you struggling to manage a multi-generational workforce? Let Humanity help. Sign up for a free Humanity trial today.