How CEOs Should Approach the Generation Gap

How CEOs Should Approach the Generation Gap

Generational differences have historically caused tension in the workplace. Older workers view younger generations as impatient, looking for the fast-track to the top, while the younger employees see the veterans as stubborn and stuck in their ways. However, the generation gap is currently causing organizations more trouble than ever before.

For the first time in history, CEOs in the Health and Human Service industry are having to cope with the challenges of having as many as four unique generations working together under the same roof. This creates a myriad of complications when it comes to efficient collaboration and communication between the generations in the workplace. With 90% of CEOs originating from either the Baby-Boomer Generation or Generation-X, it’s important that they put their biases aside and make it a priority to bridge the gap between themselves and their younger coworkers.

Luckily, there are steps that CEOs can take to help ease the tension and make their diverse workforce much more productive:

Create Diverse Teams
Without upper-level intervention, the chances of different generations collaborating with one another on various tasks and projects are very slim. When new opportunities arise, CEOs must make sure that they create teams that represent all generations within an organization, with each member bringing their own skillset to the table. Not only will the organization benefit from having multiple perspectives, but encouraging cross-generational collaboration can open many doors moving forward.

Implement Internal Mentoring Programs
Partnering younger workers with seasoned veterans has been known to positively impact organizations of all shapes and sizes. Not only do these programs encourage face-to-face communication between different generations, but they also provide learning opportunities for everyone involved. Younger workers benefit from the guidance of experienced employees, while older workers can be educated on modern technology and given advice on how to keep up with the changing work environment.

According to CEOs that participated in the DATIS 2017 Workforce Management Trends report, 37% don’t believe their organization has a supportive management system in place. For CEOs looking to increase collaborative efforts, they must consider adopting a management system that supports coaching and mentoring.

Adopt a Culture That Includes Everyone
Culture has become an increasingly important component of organizations in all types of industries. The overall atmosphere of a workplace, from office layout to coworker dynamics, has a huge impact on a team’s productivity and happiness. Embracing a culture that brings people together is a great way to knock down communication barriers between generations and strengthen relationships within the office. Hosting outings and out-of-work gatherings, celebrating birthdays, and creating fun competitions that include everyone in the workplace are great ways to bring people together and get people talking.

Having multiple generations working together under the same roof can be very beneficial for organizations if managed correctly. Employees can constructively share their personal viewpoints and ideas on how to approach situations in the workplace. It is up to the CEO to create an environment that encourages cross-generational communication. Creating diverse teams, implementing mentor-like programs, and adopting a culture that includes everyone are just a few things to bring your workforce closer together.

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This DATIS Blog was written by James Clark, DATIS, on April 13th, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Written by James Clark