Mostly the differences among the generations are perceptional, and not real. Management should keep in mind the needs of all generations, respect their varied needs, and devise rules to work accordingly by taking into consideration of these differences. That ensures a mix of creativity and experience in the workplace.
To manage inter-generational conflicts successfully, the management should consider the following points −
- Accommodate employee differences.
- Learn about their unique needs and serve them accordingly
- Create workplace choices such as allowing the workplace to shape itself
- Let work be done in free-rein style of management.
- Adopt a management style with a Shift of focus from outcome to employee.
- Identify and acknowledge the individual competencies.
- Improve retention through strategies like one-on-one coaching opportunities
- Interactive computer-based training and classroom courses.
The secret recipe for success is a combination of initiatives for inter-generational balance and comfort.
Communication and Respect
A strong and clear communication is quite helpful while dealing with the inter-generational conflicts. Through communication, the negative energies such as behind-the-back complaining, passive-aggressive behavior, and open hostility can be avoided and instead, a new perspective of the young workers and the wisdom of the most experienced worker can put together.
Similarly, system-level practices such as improving wages and benefits, creating a professional identity by conducting credential-building programs, and providing one-one coaching helps retain talent.
The employers and the employees should collectively find a solution to the frequently asked questions, rather than taking the questions as a symbol of disrespect, an intention to create trouble, or embarrass the authority; or a combination of all. It is suggested that the employers adopt and change the way they interact with younger workers.
Some of the suggestions are providing them regular guidance, being in touch, and relating performance appraisal with concrete action through a technique called FAST FEEDBACK, which is an informal way of collecting feedback by all means, such as team meetings, E-Mails, Voicemails, paper trails, etc.
Every generation has their own philosophy towards reviewing performance and the manner in which it should be imparted. For instance, all generations prefer peer interaction, performance reviews, and one-to-one review sessions. But they differ on the way feedback is given, and what points must be included in feedback.
On the other hand, older ones prefer to get performance reviews on skills alone. Reviews through assessment & feedback are the top five methods for skills for X-ers and Y-ers as they always desire feedback, but older ones don’t prefer. They are quite sensitive to any kind of feedback and hence, are not quick in adhering to any new skills.
The areas of reviews as desired by each generation are also very different. Older generations mostly want performance reviews to focus on their field of expertise, while young generations prefer reviews on their overall employee skills. Therefore, the management & the HR managers keeping in view of the age group and generation should devise a best suitable training Retention program and not just a generalized common performance reviews for all.
Retention is one of the most sensitive needs for any organization, as an organization with a higher retention rate is perceived as healthy and successful, both socially and economically. However, the perceived importance of work is on a decline recently, and the main reason behind this is the failure of employers in inspiring their workers.
The employers have failed to establish among their employees, a sense of recognition, a display of appreciation, and the feeling of being valued and happy.
Studies suggest that employers need to send a strong message about their commitment toward employees, and make the employees feel as their most valued asset, and not just some expendable resource.
The employers should try and implement a mix of both employee-targeted strategies as well as the system-level practices. Members across all generations share a few common reasons in order to stay in an organization.
The reasons to stay in an organization are different for different age groups. Training to the new recruits and support to existing employees play a vital role in employee retention. In order to manage stress among the new workers, supportive socialization tools such as Realistic Orientation Programs should be practiced.
Employers should keep a track of job stresses, provide peer support and networking opportunities, and improve stress-coping skills of their employees.
To improve upon the retention figures, organizations should acknowledge the expertise of the existing workforce and at the same time, appreciate the talents and contribution of the young workers.
It is found that a balanced work environment has higher retention rates, and few of such organizations with a mix of generations in their workplace have better cafeteria facilities, baby daycare units, rehabilitation rooms, etc.