Gen X, Gen Y, and now iGen will soon all be working together in the workplace. With such differences in personality, life experiences and expectations, can they work together in harmony? Yes!
Gen X consists of those born after the Western Post–World War II baby boom. Demographers and commentators use birth dates ranging from the early 1960s to the mid-1980s.
Gen Y covers people born between the 1980’s and the year 2000, and these individuals are sometimes referred to as the Millennial Generation, or simply Millennials.
iGen (Z) is the generation of individuals born after the year 2000. They are the children of Generation X in most cases and maybe even Generation Y.
It is understandable to see why there is so much focus on separating them - the likelihood of such different groups of people getting along seems slim to none. Although all the generations have clear characteristics that are unique to them, it is very possible for them to all work side by side in a productive environment. Many professionals have spent so much time on separating the generations, trying to understand what makes them tick, what their needs are, and what environments they thrive best in.
The focus should be shifted to how best they can all work together since by 2020 more than half of the workforce will be comprised of millennials! Whether they were affected by the Great Recession (Millennials), are still studying in school (Gen Z), or define themselves to be the “neglected middle child,” (Gen X) they all really want the same things: fair compensation, good benefits, more autonomy, but most of all, to feel valued and to be adding value.
Here are some tips on how they can all work together:
Show Respect - Understand that some cultures and different generations view respect differently than you might. So, to be on the safe side, always go above and beyond to make sure people know you respect them and they will respect you in turn.
Encourage Creativity - One of the best ways to get along well with others is to make them feel included. Asking for their ideas and opinions will generate a mutual camaraderie and elicit teamwork. Brainstorm together and stay constructive.
Listen to Understand - Many people listen only to respond, rarely to understand. Relationships drastically improve when people want to truly know what the other person is trying to say/convey. You may even learn something new!
The key to satisfying this blend of generations is to start at the top, with the culture and values of your organization. When everyone knows and cares about the company they are working for, the collaboration will fall into place. Hiring the people that fit into your organization, no matter what generation they come from, not only will prove seamless collaboration but invite diversity on a whole other level.
The important thing to remember is that the key to working with everyone is not putting them in a category and value the individual flair they bring to the work environment. we're always learning from our peers, and having many different perspectives from people of different experiences can only be a good thing and add to that.
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