Last month we examined some of the differences between generations and how they can affect your workplace. To follow up on that topic and offer some real-world insight, our CEO, Karen Wilson, asked me to talk to our team about what it’s like to work with co-workers spanning various generations.
Our sample of employees includes members of Generations X and Y, as well as a baby boomer. They include recruiters, managers and everyone in between. We wanted to offer a full perspective on what it’s like to work with different generations here at MAKE!
Here’s what we found:
- Being tolerant of different behavior is a good idea, even if you don’t understand it. Multiple members of our team mentioned that they’ve observed or noticed behavior that didn’t necessarily make sense to them. This is a fairly common observation in multigenerational workplaces. But, more importantly – they realized that being tolerant of different behaviors is essential to a harmonious, productive workplace. As one MAKE team member put it, “Neither is better or worse. Just different!”
- A strong company culture is essential. Several employees noted that a strong company culture allows them to work better with other employees, regardless of their generational differences. When your company culture supports a collaborative, friendly work environment, your employees are likely to get along – regardless of age differences. As our baby boomer noted, “I’m not sure what other advice to give, other than treat everyone with respect.” When your culture supports respect among peers, your team is much more likely to get along.
- Employees across generations are eager to learn from one another. One of our Generation Y employees noted that some MAKE co-workers have a significant amount of industry experience – experience that can provide immeasurable benefit to someone just getting started. Understanding and appreciating that there is a great deal to be learned is an incredible benefit to professionals in any generation. Another member of our team observed the advanced computer skills of younger co-workers – which provide an opportunity to hone some of her own skills. As one MAKE team member put it, “I’ve learned to adapt and try new things. My way is not always the best way.”
I think the best way to summarize our generational experience here at MAKE is with this quote from one of our employees:
“Learn from everyone. All generations have something to add. With experience comes wisdom and with youth comes innovation.”
Wise words from our team—and a special thanks to everyone who gave their insights for this blog!
Do you have any stories to share of multigenerational workplaces? Are there any challenges your team is finding? Feel free to share them in our comments section below!