In the image above you can see many differences between these two people. Just by looking at the picture, it does not seem that they have anything in common. Do you see any way these two people can relate to each other? What if I told you the one thing they have in common is that they work together. Many companies have a wide range of people ages 16-65+ working together. Having two very different generations working together might create some tension. They would most likely have different ideas and opinions. This is a generation gap.
Many workplaces have a generation gap, which can lead to issues. Some problems that may arise are different communication styles, different characteristics or work ethics, different feedback expectations, different work/ life balance understandings, and different ways to resolve conflicts (Whitman, 2018). There are differences in every generation, but I want to focus on the two generations that seem to clash the most. Certain generations prefer different ways to communicate. Baby boomers prefer face to face communication, where as millennials grew up with technology and prefer mobile communication (Whitman, 2018). Baby boomers prefer to work in groups and put work above everything else, where as millennials like fast paced lives and like to learn on their own (Whitman, 2018). Another way these two differ in the work place is feedback expectations. Baby boomers seem to want more feedback in the form of money and promotions, while millennials want to be kept in the loop and want to be respected (Whitman, 2018). Millennials are quick to jump on other job opportunities and normally do not vision themselves at a company for longer than 2 years, but baby boomers are in it for the long haul and prioritize their work lives (Whitman, 2018). These generations also have different ways of resolving conflicts. Baby boomers want a group consensus and millennials tend to need help resolving conflict because they do not handle it well (Whitman, 2018).
These generations seem to have quite a few differences in the workplace.Working together might be tough, but there are ways that companies can help reduce these issues. Employers should have open communication and make everyone feel as though they have a part to play in the workplace (Whitman, 2018). Another way to help bridge this gap is to mentoring. Having generations mentor each other is a good way for the generations to see each other’s perspectives on an idea and learn from them (Whitman, 2018). There are many other ways employers can help generations work better together, but I think that everyone should try to bridge this gap. If we try to understand someone’s perspectives they might try to understand ours. It would promote a better work environment.
Whitman, M. (2018, August 6). How to Bridge the Generation Gap in the Workplace: Deputy®. Retrieved from https://www.deputy.com/us/blog/the-generation-gap-how-to-bridge-the-gap-in-the-workplace