DRIVER #5 – CROSS GENERATIONAL CHALLENGES (Part 6 of 6)
We have covered the impact of technology, leader and manager readiness, the future of work, and diversity and bias in the workplace. For our final post, we share main findings on Cross Generational Challenges.
As the world experiences dynamic changes, it is common to believe that different generations have vastly different views on how they should work.
However, according to our survey, organisations are more adept at dealing with generational differences than the media headlines would suggest. In fact, whilst 51% said that careful management of a cross-generational workforce was important, 36% disagreed, and there was little support for the idea that we are overly obsessed by Gen Y.
The key to developing a successful cross-generational workforce, it seems, is to increase the opportunities for collaboration. That way, different generations can get a better understanding of how the other is thinking.
Agility and flexibility are other factors that contribute to a successful and happy working environment. A new approach to corporate learning will help significantly here.
Meeting the Cross-Gen Challenge
How are organisations encouraging collaboration amongst the generations?
- Weekly ‘huddles’ within small groups or wider teams – 1 hour sessions devoted to essential issues, cutting the distractions of more trivial agendas
- Monthly ‘happy hour’ meetings between senior leadership andteams to encourage more open communication and discussion
- Employee access to multiple modes of learning, particularly those on digital platforms to complement in-class workshops
- Open-space work stations to encourage more collaboration
- Buddy system where older generations mentor younger employees, inside and outside the company
- Reverse mentoring, where younger generations educate older generations about modern trends
Call to Action
What can your organisation do to encourage successful cross-generational collaboration?
- Persuade leaders and managers to work within cross-generational groups
- Trial reverse mentoring, and give Gen Y employees a greater leadership role on particular projects
- Run ‘expert mentor’ series – talks given by very experienced colleagues
- Spend more time on face-to-face communication; something that has diminished with the rise of online communication
- Promote more peer recognition and appreciation, regardless of generation
Check out page 34 in our full report for some cross-generational insights on how successful companies are bridging the divide.
There is no doubt that organisations face a great many challenges as we prepare the workforce for the world of the 2020s.
The impact of technology is one of our most pressing concerns, but there are plenty of exciting opportunities once we embrace the flexibility and adaptability that technology brings.
Leader and manger readiness is another pressing issue, and there is much work to be done in order to make sure the next generation is fully prepared for new challenges.
The future of the workplace is far from certain. Global and local factors can have a significant impact, but if we try our best to stay one step ahead, our organisations will prosper.
As our workforce becomes more globalised and diverse, companies are under renewed pressure to create a welcoming and accepting environment for all; equal opportunities and more motivated staff will be the inevitable result.
Finally, the cross-generational divide seems to be more of an issue in the imaginations of the media rather than in reality. But when we encourage collaboration between people of different ages and experiences, then our companies will be the better for it.
Is your organisation truly ready for the fast-approaching 2020s? If you would like some help in training your workforce for the future, then Cegos Asia Pacific offer a range of training options.
Download the full report here.
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