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March 21, 2017 0

Bridging the gap – Generation gap at work place and how to deal with it!

Posted by:dimenzion3 onMarch 21, 2017

 

pexels-photo-235558 Samantha: “Hey, did you see the new automation tool they have introduced? It’s so cool!”

Padma: “Another tool, Yet again! One day these tools will replace us and we won’t have any jobs. Back in the day, things were so very different…”

Samantha: “Ummm but this tool is going to make our life so much simpler and we will be more productive…”

Padma: “What do you know about productivity? I have spent 15 years here and I know how to get things done. Go play with your new tool!”

Diversity & inclusion goes beyond the traditional dynamics related to gender. It is time we wake up to the reality that the generation gap is only going to widen further as more and more employers seek young talent. The millennials constitute the largest workforce and not paying enough attention to related dynamics is something that organizations cannot afford.  Hence it is critical to bridge the generation gap for organizational effectiveness.

For a person who has spent decades in an organization giving it their 100%, it is a significant change to suddenly work alongside and compete with someone much younger. Right from the working styles to experience to mind sets, everything is going to be different.

Together these two groups bring to the table a combination of rich experience, wisdom, lots of curiosity and passion to learn, tech savviness, creativity and energy. Having said that when there is such a significant generation gap at the workplace, it is natural to have differing perspectives and mind-sets that give rise to conflicts. Here are the  5 key areas where one can observe contrasting difference in perspectives at workplace:

Loyalty

  1. “I have toiled so hard here for the last 20 years. This company is like second home to me. I can never think of leaving”
  2. “I worked here for 2 long years. This company is almost like my second home. High time I switch jobs.”

Social Interaction     

  1. “These kids just want go to parties and hang out than work hard towards a better life and career. They also take their work to home than finishing it during work hours. How irresponsible”
  2. “They are just interested in wrapping up work and going home on time, even if there is so much to do. How irresponsible.”

Communication Style

  1. “I give up! This report is beyond me”
  2. “This report is fucking with my brain dude”

Working styles

  1. “They come in shorts to office and walk in whenever they like. No time sense or discipline. Grow up, Have a life.”
  2. “They come on time and leave exactly on time. They don’t even socialize after work. Have a life bro!”

 Maturity

  1. “Always giggling, looking at their phones, clicking pictures of everything, taking selfies, using bad words. No sense of maturity at all.”
  2. “Give me a break damn it! How dare she lecture me on what is right and what is wrong and impose her personal thoughts on me? I don’t like to be mommy’ed.”pexels-photo-262391

So the fundamental issue here as in all cases is the difference in perspectives, m
ind-sets, and lack of awareness driven by value systems and  unconscious bias. The need for Gen Y and Gen X and in some cases even older generations working together for business success is the need of the hour and the only way to make that happen is to establish awareness.

Here are some things that each group could consider while dealing with the other.

Gen X

  • Clothing & intelligence are not related. Just because someone wears shorts and torn jeans does not make them less smart or intelligent
  • Personal life choices like partying and drinking should not matter and shouldn’t be judged at work
  • Maturity is a perspective. Just because they are young and lack experience does not mean they are immature. They have a high sense of elf belief and that makes them act impulsively
  • Working styles may be different. Some may prefer working in the morning some may prefer working late nights. That does not mean one style is better than the other. As long as the quality of work is fine, approach to work should not matter

Gen Y

  • They have eons of experience. Respect that experience. While some practices they follow may seem outdated, there is great wisdom to seek from such practices. Follow a mutual learn and teach policy –
  • They belong to a time when job stability and personal security meant a great deal. Hence loyalty to a company is much higher
  • Understand their struggles. They are great learners. They have travelled the era from manual/ automatic wrist watches to digital watches to fitness bands. They have experienced black & White TV sets to Flat Screen TVs, to LCD, LED and plasma TVs. They are transitioning from joint families to nuclear families. Brought up in a period of no computers, they are catching up with the Facebook and Twitter era and are doing a great job at it
  • They may spend less time socializing at work as their idea of family and social life is far wider than yours and they need to provide that time outside work

It all begins with accepting and being aware of one’s perspectives and biases. If that is done, half the battle is won. Millenials and Gen X will need to work together in a mutually inclusive manner for many more years to come until the advent of an entirely new generation in the workforce. As long as we accept that reality, become more aware and navigate through these differences effectively. we are all set to make the world a great place to work!

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About the author: Tanuja Prasad

Tanuja is a diversity & Inclusion consultant at Dimenzion3 and works on various diversity projects with our clients. She is a true representation of millennials at workplace and is generally amused at the dynamics this generation gap brings. She frequently writes on topics related to diversity & inclusion. 

 

DimenZion3 is the leading consulting services company in Diversity & Inclusion. To know more about our work, do visit our website (dimenzion3.com)

For enquiries, you may write to us at talent@dimenzion3.com

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