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Are You an Advocate for Generational Diversity?

Photo by DigitalVision (dv1954035) from ThinkStock

*Are you a manager that’s tired of being inundated with tactics on how you can better manage Millennials? Are you a millennial that twinges at the utterance of the word “millennial” and all the stereotypes that ensue with it? You’re not alone. From the 20-something who wants better work-life balance to the 60-something who wants more benefit options, you are contributing to a multigenerational workforce who has unique challenges and opportunities.

The opportunities within generational diversity are often glazed over due to frustration, miscommunication, and overall variances between colleagues. With four generations working together (Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials) and Generation Z on their way in the door, this crowded workplace presents a distinct set of values, expectations, and approaches toward life and work. It’s up to both formal leaders and individual contributors to understand these differences and use appropriate strategies to leverage a team of individuals who have diverse experiences and perspectives.

Regardless of your title and the generation you associate with, you can be an advocate for generational diversity in your company, professional associations, and anywhere people come together to get stuff done. Let’s stop fighting the distinctions between all of us and recognize the individual value that each of us brings to the table. Only then can we capitalize on the uniqueness that makes work fun, productive, and effective for all.

Strategies for cultivating a positive multigenerational workforce:

1. Communicate to ensure alignment.

Whether that goal is for you individually, your department, or the organization, communicate constantly with your team and leader to assure that everyone is on the same page. Allow room for individual perspective and input on how the goal will be achieved. As long as everyone is working towards the same outcome, it’s ok if different strategies to attaining it are implemented.

2. Design a flexible work environment.

Offering flexible schedules, more paid time off, remote work, or a buffet style benefits package is not exclusive to millennial desires; everyone wants more options in their world of work these days. Consider what nontraditional approaches that are viable in your organization and offer options to meet the needs of all employees. If you aren’t in a position to make these decisions, think about what you can suggest to your leader and articulate the benefit it could bring to your work or team.

3. Create a constant feedback loop.

Annual Performance Evaluations may still be required for your company but it should not be used as the sole form of feedback. As a leader, providing ongoing feedback throughout the year through regular one-on-ones, huddles, and in the moment coaching provides higher performance and increases engagement among employees. If this isn’t scheduled by your leader, then ask for it in the way that works best for both parties.

4. Cultivate leadership opportunities for all.

Most leadership positions, especially in large and tenured organizations, are held by those of more mature generations. You could be missing a huge opportunity by not implementing leadership development to younger generations through training programs or mentoring. Harness their leadership potential now so they are ready for advancement when the time comes. If you want to develop and know your priorities, ask for a mentor in the area you wish to grow.

5. Leverage social media.

Social media is not solely used by Millennials. It’s a tool that all people utilize today to learn, buy, and communicate. Social media plays a large role in your company’s story and people are attracted to your organization by the narrative you share. Use social media to your advantage both internally and externally to spread the story you want others to intercept that demonstrates why your workplace is exceptional.

Capitalizing on the unique qualities that each person attributes to their workplace will catapult organizations into a new level of performance, problem solving, and goal achieving. Which strategy will you begin deploying today for a better workplace tomorrow?

*This article was originally published by Training Industry, Inc. You can read the original article by clicking here: Training Industry, Inc.

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