Many organizations are finding it difficult to navigate a multi-generational workforce. With different needs and expectations across the divide, fostering a positive experience for the entirety of the company can be a challenge. However, while the values across these age groups differ slightly, a good company culture fit is extremely important to all generations in the workforce.
A 2021 report from TeamStage found company culture is important to 46% of job seekers, and 88% of these job seekers believe a healthy culture at work is vital for success. There are great benefits to having a diverse range of employees, but utilizing these varied workers effectively requires team leaders to understand their role in creating a positive company culture for everyone.
Here are four ways employers and managers can build a culture of collaboration and support across the generational divide:
1. Look for cultural fits during the hiring process
If your organization hosts a variety of generations, it's valuable to ensure potential candidates would fit into that culture as well. This requires company leaders to firmly establish the values and cultural aspects they want to see in their workforce. Managers can ask pointed questions in interviews to understand where a candidate's values lie or hire people that have shown to have a similar character to current employees. A study from Built In even found 91% of managers believe a candidate's alignment with the company culture is equal to or more important than their skills and experience.
2. Host company-wide events
It can be difficult for these different groups to naturally come together, so large social events for everyone at the company can be an effective way to unite employees. This often leads workers across generations to see how much they have in common, which is advantageous for the company and its culture moving forward. While providing the opportunity for these age groups to intermingle and network can be beneficial, it's equally as important that employers don't force this socialization but rather let it happen naturally.
3. Encourage mentorship or coaching across generations
A wide generational divide means there are employees from all walks of life who have knowledge to share with others. This provides the opportunity for employers and managers to arrange mentorship programs or chances to collaborate so these workers can teach each other what they might excel in. Not only is this valuable for bringing the different generations together, but diversity in teams and opportunities to learn are essential to boost organizational productivity.
4. Communicate with your team to determine their needs and expectations
Simply asking your team what they're looking for can also be beneficial, and this direct approach can help team leaders easily determine the most effective way to build a strong company culture. Communication across generations is essential for success, and while you most likely can't please everyone, it's a step in the right direction.
For team leaders trying to bridge the generational gap, it's critical to start with forming a healthy and supportive corporate culture. A strong foundation can make communication and collaboration between diverse age groups more efficient and more effective for the company moving forward.
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