Managing generation differences in workplace


Generational differences in the workplace are one aspect of diversity. There is a rapidly changing workforce dynamic with different generations working together and a globally mobile workforce especially in large international companies. So how can company leader’s best manage multiple generations of workers?

Workforce Management
Lawrence Loy
10 months ago

6 answers


Leadership has to provide the vision and support to the workforce and then trust them to 'do their jobs'. There will always be people who say 'we tried that years ago and it didn't work then' but that shouldn't stop the younger colleagues from trying again.

David Cottrell
10 months ago
I agree with David that the vision aspect is the key stone to motivates the whole group of multi generations to march towards a common goal! - Chun 10 months ago
It is true that the older generations might not be as motivated as the younger generations and the negative thoughts of the elder generations might demotivates the younger one. Thus, good leadership qualities such as what you have mentioned = vision comes into play! - Lawrence 10 months ago

Leaders should consider what drives and motivates each generation and strive to identify ways to engage with each group. This can help to retain and recruit new employees. Furthermore, clear communication, understanding co-workers strengths and weaknesses, valuing and supporting diversity and avoiding generalizations can also help leaders to work successfully and build effective teams of multigenerational multinational workers.

Chun Wei
10 months ago
It is true that communication barrier is one of the major hinderance for an effective communications between generations. Thus, a clear communication might lessen miscommunication error between generations. - Lawrence 10 months ago

This comes from your company HR policy primarily. The first rule to avoid generation difference is - never make someone feel their generation. If there is a role based treatment, you avoid multiple conflicts such as gender or generation.
However, its easy then said. Team leaders have to do a lot of work to make sure if all the team members are satisfied with their roles.

Hitesh Mathpal
10 months ago
if you have a good policy and your company is determined for that - this is not that big of a problem. - Maya 10 months ago
Great point Hitesh! It is true to make sure that the whole company is seens a a homologous group rather than divide it into generations! Any suggestions on how to make sure that each team members are satisfied with their role? - Lawrence 10 months ago
Agree. Good points. - Charu 10 months ago

If you treat them as resources - things go well. If you label resources - problem comes. Meeting everyone's career goals and expectation should be priority in your HR policy.

Maya Kharkwal MA, BEd
10 months ago
Well said! The sensation that a person/an emplyee receive and perceive is important as it affects the psychological parts of the employee as being "labeled" - Lawrence 10 months ago
Well said. - Charu 10 months ago

Oh this platform can be so frustrating. 10mins typing an answer and then it gets lost when I save. Let's try again. Maybe I was too grumpy before ..

The clue for me is in Lawrence's original question - this is about diversity - and you don't fix diversity by focusing on labels, whether labels for race, gender, religion, generation or anything else. You fix diversity by treating everyone as individual human beings.

Generations in particular are a particularly odd thing to label people with, because they are completely made up i.e. who says Gen X, Y or anything else starts or finishes on a particular date? It's nonsense.

We get obsessed with generalities like this because it's easier to put things and people into categories - if we can invent general rules, we don't have to think too hard. But diversity can't be fixed with general rules. Diversity gets fixed when we stop putting ourselves, and other people, into categories, and just start treating everyone, including ourselves, as individuals.

Alan A
10 months ago
Great Point Alan! It is true that there is no clear boundaries between generations. One could be elder in age, but younger in mentality. - Lawrence 10 months ago
Agree, Good points. - Maya 10 months ago

In my opinion, the following approaches can be used to manage generational issues in the multinational multigeneration workplace:
1. Put in place consistent employment expectations, organizational goals, policies and procedures.
2. Provide opportunities and forums for open dialogues with all employee and in particular those from younger generations who are looking to express their needs and ideas within the organisation.
3. Embrace an open, approachable and flexible style for managing and addressing the concerns of all generations.

Adrian Minh
10 months ago
Great point! Just to echo what David Cottrell mentioned aboved, The importance of vision in leadership and also what @Alan Arnett mentioned that we should embrace an open approach by treating every one as an indivisial rathe by age,status,race or religioun. - Lawrence 10 months ago

Have some input?