How to Integrate Older Workers into Your Millennial Team

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By BizBritain

3 months ago

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If you are a Millennial leader at the helm of a team largely comprising people from that same generational demographic cohort, you could still see appeal in adding older workers as well. Fast Company notes that older workers are vastly experienced and tend to remain in jobs for longer.

Older workers

However, attempting to seamlessly incorporate older workers into a largely Millennial team can bring an array of challenges. Here are tips for navigating some of the especially awkward issues.

Resist buying into stereotypes

Admittedly, there are many online articles that don't always make this easy. It isn't too difficult to come across reams of resources detailing how characteristics supposedly differ between generations. Still, avoid paying too much attention to these probably still well-intentioned pieces.

Otherwise, you could too easily make unfounded assumptions about your recruits. You can help to dissipate stereotyping if you remember to carefully listen to these workers' concerns. It's about understanding what they genuinely want, not what the stereotypes suggest they want.

Don't always blame conflict on generational differences

Though there are many examples of how companies have benefited from diversifying their work forces, this strategy does increase the scope for workplace conflict. What can start as a simple misunderstanding can worsen as behavioural and habitual differences are increasingly evidenced.

However, you shouldn't be too quick to attribute these differences to generational factors. Instead, treat each employee as their own person to improve your understanding of their inner workings.

Emphasise the mission that unites everyone

Where differences lie, there is also one, ultimately overriding similarity: the company itself. In referring to the company there, we also refer to its mission, vision and culture.

Of course, your entire team has to adhere to all three - and this can bode well for inter-generational harmony. Inc. points out that older employees working towards the overall mission instead of protecting old habits will be much more receptive to their younger colleagues' contributions.

It's a two-way thing, too. If your Millennial workers are committed to the organisation's main mission, they will welcome their elders imparting advice borne out of many years of experience.

Maintain consistency in how you treat different generations

If you have long struck a light and casual tone during exchanges with your Millennial personnel, you might be tempted to preserve that except when conversing with older workers. However, adopting a stricter tone with them will confuse people about your managerial style, warns Fast Company.

As a result, your attempts to exert discipline could unravel alarmingly quickly as your workers' respect for you is chipped away.

Heed natural differences in working styles

There are inescapably differences in the working styles to which different generations have become accustomed. For example, in group discussions, whereas baby boomers tend to assign seniority to a particular voice, Millennials usually deem every group member equal in voice.

Millennials also tend to be more attached to their phones - but, with the Connect service from communications firm Gamma, they can more tightly integrate these devices with the office system.

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