Ingredients for a Multigenerational Office

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Career-Intergenerational Original CroppedSalad ingredients sprinkle the lunch counter in many offices each afternoon. But have you ever thought about how that salad represents the workplace?

The office is a salad bowl of different backgrounds, viewpoints and ages. Taking a workplace of multigenerational employees into consideration, it is important to find a balance between the ages in order to create a pleasing palate of flavor.

Start with the most commonly known ends of the spectrum, the Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) and Generation Y (born 1976-present). Everything from explanations of office procedures to employee relationships will vary for each of these groups. Furthermore, they will each have their own idea of how the office should run, and that is where the salad spoils.

Baby Boomers often treat Generation Y like their children, and in response, Generation Y has less respect for the Baby Boomers. A work environment catered to one age group is one where generations will clash. Take each employee's age group into consideration when developing business strategies or when solving problems in the workplace. Encourage employees to work together and seek similarities instead of differences. Focusing on these positives will require patience, but in the end, the office will be more cohesive.

According to Keynote Speaker Karen McCullogh, Generation Y is impatient but optimistic. Here are some ingredients for your workplace salad bowl that will cultivate a healthy mix:

  • Generation Y workers are optimistic, but impatient. They benefit best from a return on their time. Give them projects to work on that they can see through from beginning to end.
  • Generation Y more than any other group is living on mobil devices, Karen says. Communicating with them and marketing to them is best done in a way that is technology-based or that can be consumed on the go.
  • Baby Boomers want to manage their employees, but Generation Y has a tendency to go right to the top. "We don't want you going to the president of the company," Karen says. "If I'm your manager, come to me first. Don't jump over me."
  • Generation Y employees are hungry for knowledge, so teach them! Understand that they are the "can do kids," and can be easily taught.

Sources: Esther Francis Joseph, Karen McCullough. Photo:

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