In workplaces across the globe, a seismic shift is taking place—one of the generational variety.
As our world becomes more tech-driven and migrates towards a cloud-based existence, the physical workplace is changing rapidly. Alongside these relentless changes in internal outlook, the recent influx of digital natives into the workforce is causing fragmentation across industries.
While baby boomers and Gen Xers have dominated the workforce for many years, the rise of millennials and the maturation of the Gen Z cohort are transforming office dynamics, causing a generational ‘tug of war’.
By 2025, millennials alone will make up 75% of the world’s workforce, with Gen Zers following close behind. In life, change is constant and outlooks are in constant flux, but by creating cohesion in the workplace rather than segregation, generations can stand side by side, learning from one another to accelerate organisational progress.
Here we look at the key principles of working and coaching across generations, concepts you can use to make vital improvements in your own workplace setting.
First and foremost, having a diverse workforce has a host of benefits. Differing viewpoints and perspectives create innovative solutions to pressing problems while improving employee engagement across departments.
By understanding that all generations, despite their obvious differences, share common values, it’s possible to bring people together, creating cohesion and fostering cross-generational collaboration.
According to recent studies, family is the most common shared value across generations, with integrity, achievement, love, competence, happiness, self-respect, wisdom, balance, and responsibility also important regardless of age or cohort.
Tap into these common values and you’ll create a harmonious culture that helps everyone within the organisation thrive.
When transforming diversity into inclusiveness, it’s essential to understand what workers across generations need to succeed.
At Orbium, we’ve discovered that baby boomers or millennials aside, all talent within the workplace thrives on strong leadership.
To lead in a way that inspires all generations to work as one, offering autonomy is essential—but beyond that, you need to take a personal approach to nurture common ground and build trust between your employees.
Gerard Fermin, Senior Analyst Programmer at Orbium, offers his thoughts on leading organisations to multigenerational success:
The key to a multigenerational workforce is to bridge the gap between generations.
Orbium encourages expanding everyone’s network and hosts several social events to create an avenue of opportunities for everyone to ‚bridge the gap‘.
By investing in individuals and bringing everyone together in settings that will allow them to converse freely, you can lead people (and, in turn, your entire business) towards cross-generational success.
In the digital age, particularly, lifelong learning is crucial to professional success, regardless of one’s role or niche.
Whether someone is approaching retirement or they’re brand new to the professional world, it’s likely that learning & development will be a top priority.
We as humans live to learn and progress, regardless of our age, and giving everyone the tools to expand their skill set will increase retention across generations.
By developing a viable learning & development solution and providing all of your employees with access to the right tools and coaching, you will help everyone reach their optimum potential.
Concerning the art of coaching across generations, Marcin Biegański, Senior Consultant at Orbium, explains that success lies in empathy:
For a coach, it’s very important to remember how you were doing when, years earlier, you were in the same position or situation as your coachee. By doing so, a coach can show empathy, fostering comfortability and a mutual respect in the process. A coach can build respect by demonstrating their expertise and impressing a coachee; and the coachee can show respect to the coach by manifesting interests and passion surrounding the topic.”
Remember, age or generational views aside, almost everyone within the organisation wants to continue developing their skills: give them the mentorship and tools to do so and you will create a progressive working environment.
Finally, when looking at how you can improve working and coaching across generations, it’s vital to base all of your efforts on trust and transparency.
Common perception suggests that older generations are less likely to job hop than millennials. But, studies show that loyalty is less generational and more contextual: if trust and transparency comes from the top, it will filter down through the workforce, bridging the generational gap and improving staff retention levels, as explained by John Tey, Senior Manager at Orbium:
On a daily basis, we work closely across different generations of people, from baby boomers to gen Z.
Working and coaching across generations requires the understanding of what people stand for, in terms of values, expectations and goals in their career. By addressing these aspects, we will be able to instill engagement, commitment, and dedication to a company. One of the most effective ways to build an effective team is to encourage transparency, better communication, and opportunities to collaborate with different people.
By focusing on these key principles, you will be able to bring together your entire workforce, encouraging all generations to work together in a harmony that benefits everyone. In doing so, you’ll secure a bright and prosperous future for your organisation and everyone within it.
For more organisational insights for the future, explore the rising importance of ethical investing.