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How Do We Cope With Generational Conflict?

What best practices do leading companies apply when managing a multigenerational workforce? —Generation Gaps, HR project manager, Canberra, Australia
July 31, 2012
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Related Topics: HR/Workforce Trends, Generations, Future Workplace, Change Management, Dear Workforce
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Dear Generation Gaps:

Multigenerational conflict has long been an issue, but for the first time in history, four generations are present in the workplace. Each has its own skill set, communication style, work habits and values, which can create a challenging dynamic. Here are some strategies to better engage the different generations in your workforce:

1. Do your homework. Educate yourself and your team about the nuances of each generation. Talk about the preferences and styles with your team. Making your team aware helps it to take a more strategic approach to communicating and working together.

Best practice: Host a lunch and learn to discuss generational differences and how they are manifested in your workplace.

2. Defy the golden rule. At work, don't treat others the way you want to be treated. Treat others the way they want to be treated. Recognize that a "one-size-fits-all" approach does not work with a multigenerational workforce. Some younger workers might prefer to be rewarded with a spot bonus, while others may desire a more flexible work schedule.

Best practice: Ask your employees what motivates them and how they like to communicate and use their ideas as the basis for real change.

3. Communicate and give feedback. People may feel uncomfortable giving feedback at work. But this lack of communication contributes to most workplace issues. Teams need communicate in order to thrive.

Best practice: Encourage managers to sit down with employees at least once a quarter to casually discuss how things are going. Challenge your team members to communicate directly with one another rather than through their managers or human resources.

SOURCE: Brad Karsh, JB Training Solutions, Chicago

LEARN MORE: Although generational issues are not new, they are more pressing than ever in a digitized, globally connected economy.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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