Awesomely Awesome Cross-Generational Team
A funny thing happened on the way to running a start-up. Well, not funny ‘ha-ha,’ but funny as in interesting. The workplace has always been a sort of melting pot – different personality types, learning styles and backgrounds. But now? This is the first time in American history that we have had four different generations working side-by-side in the workplace. We are a fully cross generational company – think Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. We love that this level of technological diversity brings together different backgrounds, preferences and comfort levels with technology. We appreciate what makes each “group” unique and most importantly, how each generation works differently. It’s a source of positive challenge, creativity, opportunity and growth because we’re figured out how to make it a competitive differentiator (i.e., key in the development and direction of PoPinNow!). We believe that companies that successfully deal with generational differences can create a work culture that not only focuses on what needs to get done, but also accommodates the different ways that people approach their jobs. So, how can you make it work for you? Well, aside from incorporating PoP, here are some simple, yet powerful strategies to ensure an awesomely awesome cross-generational team.
- Accommodate employee differences – Treat your employees as you do your customers. Learn all you can about them, work to meet their specific needs and serve them according to their unique preferences. Make an effort to accommodate personal scheduling needs, work/life balance issues and non-traditional lifestyles.
- Create workplace choices – Allow the workplace to shape itself around the work being done, the customers being served and the people who work there. Shorten the chain of command and decrease bureaucracy.
- Opt for a sophisticated management style – Give those who report to you the big picture, specific goals and measures. Then turn them loose. Give them feedback, rewards and recognition as appropriate.
- Respect competence and initiative – Treat everyone, from the newest recruit to the most seasoned employee, as if they have great things to offer and are motivated to do their best. Hire carefully to assure a good match between people and work.
- Nourish retention – Keeping valuable employees is every bit as important in today’s economy as finding and retaining customers. Offer a wide range of training options including one-on-one coaching sessions, interactive computer-based classes and even create an extensive and varied classroom curriculum. Encourage lots of lateral movement and broader assignments.