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For the first time in history, five generations will soon be working side by side. But whether this multi-generational workplace feels happy and productive or challenging and stressful is, in large part, up to you: the boss. How should you relate to employees of different age groups? How do you motivate someone much older or much younger than you? And finally: what can you do to encourage employees of different generations to share their knowledge?
What the Experts Say
As people work longer and delay retirement, internal career paths have changed. “Organizational careers don’t look the way they did before,” says Peter Cappelli, professor of management at the Wharton School and coauthor of Managing the Older Worker. “It’s more common to see someone younger managing someone older.” This can lead to tension on both sides. “Maybe there is a feeling of: why am I being bossed around by someone without a lot of experience? On the other hand, maybe the younger person feels insecure and wonders: how do I do this?”
“It’s important to be aware of generational tension — loosely defined as a lack of respect for someone who’s of a different generation from you — among colleagues,” says Jeanne C. Meister, a founding partner of Future Workplace, a human resources consultancy and the coauthor of The 2020 Workplace. “It’s your job to help your employees recognize that they each have distinct sets of skills and different things they bring to the table,” she says. Here’s how…
Read more at Harvard Business Review.