Generational Conflict Resolution in the Workplace
With four generations in the workplace—each with its own values, work styles, and communication preferences—it is no wonder generational conflict can undermine the ability of employees to work together and effectively accomplish their work. Generational conflict in the workplace can range from minor misunderstandings to unproductive teams to accusations of age bias. Therefore, it is imperative to prevent generational conflict to enhance workplace productivity.
Generational conflict can be prevented by:
- Focusing on the strengths each generation brings to the workplace and assigning tasks based on these strengths. Gen Xers often excel at helping to create increased efficiency. Baby Boomers can use their tendency to explore all aspects of a situation to complete thorough research. Traditionalists often are good at tapping into their vast work experience to document best practices. Millennials can use their innovative technological savvy to discover new ways your organization can better use social media.
- Educating managers to develop generation-specific strategies. A Gen X manager who does not take the time to develop a trusting relationship with Traditionalist and Boomer employees runs the risk of alienating these employees. A Boomer manager who doesn’t understand that younger employees have a different view of where and when work gets done will experience conflict with these employees.
- Giving the message to your workforce that differences are neither good nor bad. People tend to make value judgments when they encounter behavior that is different than what they are accustomed to. Employees need to learn to delay the knee-jerk reaction to make negative judgments about others or take another person’s behavior personally when they encounter employees with work styles and values that are different than their own.
Preventing generational conflict is not easy. But we can create a more harmonious multigenerational workforce with raised awareness and a genuine commitment to work effectively together.
Alisa Blum, president of Alisa Blum & Associates, specializes in optimizing the multigenerational workforce. For more information, visit www.developtopemployees.com. Blum can be reached at 503.524.3470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.