There is a constant divide in the workplace worldwide. Young professionals are frustrated by the older, workaholic colleagues who seem to be unhappy with their jobs yet nauseatingly stuck in their ways, workaholic colleagues are tired with the monotony, and the older professionals look down on younger professionals deeming them unwilling to take on jobs and lazy when they decide to put in the work.
The first step at bridging this gap is understanding what drives different generations in the workplace. The difference in values is not good or bad, at the end of the day, even if people grew up in a different world, they want the same things – to feel respected and valued. Understanding any generation’s formative years ultimately means understanding that generation’s workplace values and beliefs. This, in turn, shrinks the gaps between the generations.
Understanding different generations
The generation born in the early 90s started working when organizations were very hierarchical. Managers did the thinking, employees did the work, and employers required absolute loyalty. Rewards went to team player, not mavericks. This generation is distinguished by their skill in building consensus among workers. They are excellent mentors, good helpers, listeners, and facilitators.
The generation born in the mid-90s has always been competitive for jobs and promotions. They put a premium on ethics and values even if they are competitive and assertive. They tend to define themselves through work and are often workaholics. These people didn’t enjoy smooth career passages, and they may have had different employers or types of jobs. They tend to bring varied experiences to the workplace.
The generation born in the late 90s saw the government and corporate leaders fail, cheat and lie. They are therefore skeptical, self-focused and self-protective in the workplace. They distrust big institutions, and unlike workaholics, they strive to maintain balance in their lives having seen people suffer fatigue, illness, and divorce. For this reason, they are punctual and do not work long hour, their professional lives and personal lives are separate, and they tend to work steady shifts.
The millennial generation, born after 1990, is the most-supervised. They grew up with a lot of adult-led activities to fill their time and were overscheduled as well. They tend to be soft in combative situations at work. They tend to work long hours and accomplish a lot ahead of time. They have innovative and new age ideas that help push organizations towards modern and fresh ideas.
Managing generation gaps
The diversity in many offices leads to many divides, but when teamwork is required, this gap needs to be closed. Although the different attributes make the organization wholesome, there needs to be a close-knit team from the different generations for growth to be at its optimum. Diversity facilitation can easily be done with members of your organization. This will ensure that your company sees long-term solutions to the generation gap. Devan Moonsamy is a seasoned motivational speaker and inspirational speaker. As the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, a SETA Accredited Training Provider and lead supplier to large organizations such as Barloworld, the Avis Budget Group, Norton Rose Fulbright, and Peermont Global Hotels and Resorts, to name a few; Devan is experienced in all matters concerning diversity facilitation. He is a skilled