Tips for Boomers and Millennials to increase effectiveness and utilize the other’s strengths.
Millennials make up 75.4 million people in today’s population, with more coming into the workplace everyday. On the other hand, the Baby Boomer generation is dwindling, with an average of 3.6 million leaving the workforce annually. Beneath the calm exterior of a professional workplace, there’s an on-going frustration wreaking havoc to the morale and efficiency of top businesses and industries. To summarize it in two words, it’s called a Generation Gap.
During a meeting with one of my clients, a frustration emerged that I’ve heard time and time again from colleagues, media outlets, and even in my own work experience. It’s the sentiment of a frustrated boomer trying to manage a seemingly disengaged Millennial who expects to have the same standard of living that their parents have. Looking for a balanced perspective, I took the liberty of asking a few Millennials about their frustrations, and the age issue was also present. From the Millennial perspective some feel they’re being under utilized and undervalued. They’re sometimes frustrated with the old-school ways of their technophobic Boomer coworkers. So what’s causing this disconnect between Millennials and Boomers, and what can we do to leverage each generation’s overarching strengths?
Boomers and Millennials Are Not So Different
Two generations being at odds with each other is nothing new, and a tale that has repeated itself throughout history. When I was in my twenties many of my peers were called, “lazy good-for-nothing hippies.” The root of the problem typically lies in misunderstanding. Generation to generation, we all want to be developed, utilized, and to feel valued. While boomers grew up in an age of post-war economic boom, Millennials are facing a much different job market today. By mid-twenties many boomers were living on their own, often married and in a good job with benefits and growth opportunities. Today, for the first time in over 130 years, 1/3rd of mid-twenty year-olds are still living with their parents! This may be a sign of economic struggle, not necessarily a sign of laziness as many of us Boomers like to believe. In large part, Millennials are racked with student debt and entering a competitive work field where many employers are looking to hire for entry-level jobs with “10 years of experience.” At the end of the day both parties want the same thing, which is to be successful. Millennials want to fast-track their success by leveraging technology, Boomers see the success they’ve achieved as being the result of paying their dues, putting in hard work, and building their personal pool of knowledge and wisdom over decades.
Increasing Millennial Engagement
According to Forbes statistics, one of the most sought after job benefits from a millennial perspective is mentorship. In a world of boundless information at their fingertips and thousands of Facebook friends to back up their ideas, Millennials are seeking development, and a way to take the knowledge they have and apply it into their work life. Now, more than ever, young workers are looking for companies that have strong values, who are making a difference in their communities and in the world. Millennials have a lot to offer, and are often more tech savvy than their boomer bosses. There are limitless opportunities to leverage this new technology in any field. To engage a Millennial, provide mentorship, give them meaningful work, and allow them to implement the cutting edge app that will make work more efficient.
Baby Boomers: Tips to Manage Millennials
One of the greatest strengths of the boomer generation is experience; meanwhile Millennials are trying to teach themselves leadership and technical skills through on-demand YouTube videos and live webinars. To transfer our hard-won knowledge, here are a two things we Boomers can do:
Millennials: Tips to Impress Boomers
Many times, what seems common sense or second nature to a boomer may not make any sense to you as a millennial. Instead of nodding your head and then searching Google for the translation, here are a couple of foolproof communication hacks to get the clarification you need to be efficient and get the job done right.
Dysfunction in the Diverse Workplace
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