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Traditionalists to Generation Z: Tips to Engage a Multigenerational Workforce

–AMPLIFY DEI

This is one of a series of articles and posts about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace based on material from the AmplifyDEI 2020 Summit

We’ve all heard “With age comes wisdom;” “With experience comes wisdom.” While these statements have a basis in truth, in the workplace this can be perceived as ageism, a form of discrimination. Defined as “prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age,” this applies to all members of the workforce, from the latest generation to enter the job market to seasoned and veteran professionals. We all carry degrees of wisdom and experience. It’s our knowledge of particular aspects for which employers are looking that may not be as mature or lengthy as required. Where do you start, and how do you land the opportunities?

I once was in the same position as many in the new workforce generation—we all were. I remember being a struggling young adult, freshly graduated from university, with rent, insurance, groceries, gas, vet bills …and not having the experience for which many employers were looking for “good” paying jobs. It was something I could do nothing about except be persistent; have confidence, and know that each challenge was placed in my way for a reason and that I was meant to be exactly where I was at each point in my journey.

Knowledge and desire to “do” also breed wisdom. Opportunity is a big part of putting your knowledge to work and gaining that experience. Say “yes” to everything you can—just because you haven’t done it yet or are unsure how to approach it, you have the capability. You are the only one standing in your way. There are so many things that go against generations coming into the workforce and those who are tenured, do generation gaps, and ageism need to be among them?

Five generations working together

There are a historical number of generations trying to figure out how to put aside the differences among their group labels and collaborate in today’s workplace— from “Traditionalists,” who make up the smallest percentage of workers with the most experience, to “Generation Z,” who represent the second smallest percentage and are just getting their feet wet in the working world. Generational diversity is among the plethora of unique qualities people bring into the workplace that helps enhance company performance and increase employee engagement.

When people work together toward a common goal, they are more likely to forget about their differences and focus on working together to achieve their goal…as well as learn to appreciate each other’s knowledge and skill.

—said Operational Excellence Lead and People Enabler at Booking.com Faith Cheong during the AmplifyDEI 2020 Summit.

Source: Generational Differences in the Workplace

Seven tips to engage a multi-generational workforce

Generational variety is one of the ingredients for a more diverse workforce, along with a mix of cultures, backgrounds, experiences, skills, thoughts, beliefs, geographies, emotions, just to name a few.

“When you have a workforce comprised of members with different lenses of life, there are a lot of benefits, including high engagement, as well as increased creativity, innovation and collaboration,” said Tonia Morris, generational connector with Simply HR Inc. “I know many of the generations coming into the workforce, and they like to embrace a diverse workplace.”

With a goal to help companies and their workforce overcome unconscious biases and ageism that generation gaps can create, Cheong shared her personal tips, noting that, “An organization’s culture plays a big part in shaping and influencing how different generations behave and get along.”

  1. Know the traits of each generation
  2. Talk to each other
  3. Reflect and brainstorm ideas to help strengthen an inclusive culture
  4. Create cross-generational teams
  5. Align on work agreement including communication medium
  6. Facilitate cross-generational mentorship and coaching
  7. Engage in ongoing discussions to shift needs as appropriate

Start a conversation today

Learn about colleagues, peers, and employees in your teams without a work-related motive. Enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee together. Grab your neighbor and take a short walking break to stretch your legs. Don’t assume you know everything there is to know about someone in the workplace—there is a wealth of untapped, unexplored knowledge beneath every person.

More to come

The information-sharing doesn’t stop here. I’ll be posting more articles and blogs about a few of the topics and more perspective, so please be on the lookout.

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Monique Jozwiakowski
Monique Jozwiakowskihttps://www.mojozconsulting.com/
As someone with a dream of helping people and companies tell their stories and wonders of "what if...?", Monique Jozwiakowski made the decision to move from the corporate world of limited parameters and a defined sandbox, to one of entrepreneurship and endless possibilities. In 2018, MOJOZ Consulting, LLC was born. She incorporated the expertise of her husband soon after, and they haven't looked back. Working with two Fortune 500 companies and an international media company during her career, Monique has more than 20 years of award-winning information sharing and storytelling experience. Attempting to write a novel, she is also a business blogger. She is a heart-centric communications leader who helps build awareness and cultures around (and about) people, celebrating success through connections and collaboration. She specializes in identifying gaps and needs to craft clear and effective messaging for the most challenging objectives and initiatives helping organizations, their leaders, and people understand the impact of communications through transparency, authenticity, and truthfulness.

1 COMMENT

  1. Great post, Monique, with “simple” ideas.

    Doing Organizational Network Analysis the company Innovisor found that it was quite obvious in many big organizations who had been hired around the same time because their networks within the organization reflected this. Unfortunately, when younger people rather asked their peers than older colleagues when they had a problem, organizational know-how took longer than necessary to reach new hires. It also meant that the general technical know-how the young people had that could be of use in the organizations took longer than necessary to become adopted.
    Cross generational mentorships or buddy arrangements would help with both situations.

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