When Pete Townshend from The Who wrote the famous song, “My Generation,” he most certainly was not considering how to optimize a multi-generational workforce. But he might as well have been. The song is a screaming declaration to all who will listen about how Townshend felt about his generation.
With up to five generations working simultaneously in current workplaces, many likely wish they had an anthem, just like Townshend, to let others know how they feel. After all, members from each generation have their own set of motivations and mindsets, many of which come from the age in which they were born and raised.
A lack of understanding generational-based work ethics, social norms, and behaviors can lead to an imbalance of work and miscommunication between team members. Instead of having members bellowing anthems all day long declaring their feelings about their generation, as humorous as that would be, time would be better spent determining how to best work together.
An article in Inc. by John Rampton covers this topic nicely. Rampton lists the five generations working side-by-side in today’s workforce, while also capturing the work strengths and interests for each generation. As an example, employees of Generation X may prefer to work independently with minimal supervision, while Generation Z employees look for structure and constant feedback.
Are Generations All that Different?
Understanding the subtle differences in each generation’s mindset can yield enormous benefits from stronger collaboration to exposure of other points of view. It may be one thing to read about generational differences and quite another to speak with team members made up of multiple generations. Simple conversations comparing similarities and identifying relatively minor differences can transform the working style of an entire team.
Simple and periodic conversations is a productive way for team members from different generations to gain a clearer understanding of one another. Through communication and understanding, the transformation of the team is achieved.
How Generations Can Learn From Each Other
As former Airbnb executive Chip Conley, says in the Ted Talk, “What Baby Boomers Can Learn from Millennials at Work and Vice Versa,” we all gain by “…opening up these inter-generational pipelines of wisdom, so we can all learn from each other.” Conley further emphasizes that there have been several studies showing that age-diverse teams are more effective and successful. However, “…only 8% of companies that have a diversity and inclusion program include age as just as important of a demographic as gender or race.”
Since age and experience can be synonymous, including age with diversity programs is a good idea. Conditions such as “groupthink,” or the concept of team members not disagreeing with one another for the sake of harmony, may have a higher chance of being avoided with teams that include age with diversity programs.
What to Do
Life expectancy is increasing, leading to a likely continuation of multiple generations working together. What can companies do now to assist in successful collaboration among multi-generational teams? Companies can begin thinking about how inter-generational groups can benefit from open conversations about their mindset and point of view. Having these conversations will help both the team and the company with personal and business growth by capturing the strengths of all generations.
How Employment Verification HelpS
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HR teams that outsource employment verification to i2Verify have more time to focus on other critical tasks, such as increasing the understanding of generational differences between the members of your team. i2Verify works directly with all lenders, background check vendors, and government agencies to make sure that we fulfill all employment verification requests securely and quickly.
This means that when a verifier such as a lender requires a verification of employment to help an existing employee finalize a mortgage, i2Verify works directly with the lender to fulfill the request, rather than your HR department.
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Contact i2Verify for information on our employment verification platform.