Many workplaces are aware of differences in attitudes and behaviors among the generations — traditionalists, boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials. But they’re not adequately aware how key cross-generational cooperation is to an organization’s financial sustainability and the success of diversity and inclusion efforts.
Boosting the productivity of multigenerational teams, attracting and retaining clients of different generations, getting rid of misperceptions and stereotypes and transferring vital knowledge from older workers to younger ones depend on cross-generational understanding, respect and collaboration.
Making Employees More Engaged
Those feelings and work styles, in turn, make employees more engaged, which is crucial for employers since up to half of the workforce is actively or passively looking to leave their jobs, according to recent surveys.
If boomers don’t pass on their knowledge, relationships and perspectives to younger generations, management skills, critical thinking, cultural glue and clients can vanish. Without an infusion of fresh perspectives on processes, market forces and technical skills, boomer-led enterprises will stagnate.
Solutions to these challenges can be found in cross-generational conversation, a business imperative directly tied to an organization’s financial sustainability and its emotional center.
Seeing the need to move awareness to meaningful action, I founded Cross-Generational Conversation Day. It’s both a concept and the framework for an actual groundbreaking “day” or series of events. I’m working on it with more than two dozen individuals from many industries, ranging in age from their early-20s to mid-70s.
The vision for Cross-Generational Conversation Day is a national day of multigenerational connections through a workplace-based series of small group discussions.
They’d be flexibly structured, facilitated conversations among personnel, managers and business owners of all generations. Rather than a conference where attendees sit passively, Cross-Generational Conversation Day participants would be actively involved in sharing their views on the best ways to work together in their own workplace.
The first stage underway comprises two or three on-site pilots or joint models this summer, shorter versions of the full “day” structure. A larger launch is targeted toward the end of the year. (We recently launched a survey to gather opinions and experiences of people working in multigenerational teams or collaborations, for evidence of benefits and obstacles. If you’d like to take it, click here.)
Outcomes and Benefits
Employers taking part in Cross-Generational Conversation Day will gain information about employee roadblocks and metrics on generational issues and will send a clear message that their organization is committed to the advancement of engagement, productivity, meaningful communication and collaboration among its generations. They’ll also probably surface issues needing more urgent attention.
Individual participants will gain an enhanced sense of how to maintain successful business relationships and a better understanding of how other generations perceive them as teammates and colleagues.
Boomers are in a position to take important roles in Cross-Generational Conversation Day given their seniority, preference for face-to-face conversations, accumulated knowledge and desire to stay involved and relevant.
Steps to Get Started
If you’d like to help organize a Cross-Generational Conversation Day where you work, here are a few ways to start:
- Get management support by making a strong business case. Gather data.
- Propose a half-day of 30- to 45-minute discussion topics by canvassing the multigenerational employee base to identify what they feel is most relevant. Examples might be: What do you like and respect about each of the other generations? How can a multigenerational team function more productively? What does work ethic mean to you? What is your greatest hope and fear for how the incoming generation will change the course of business?
- Suggest participants from each generation and a variety of levels — preferably those who work together — form one or more multigenerational groups of eight to 12 participants. Send the message that participation is desirable for their career.
- Designate an experienced facilitator from your organization or have a respected, neutral person, such as a trainer or outside facilitator, prepped to handle the day and discussions. (I can recommend facilitators and supply the tools for the day; email me at email@example.com.)
- Distribute a series of communications to participants in advance, to create excitement, momentum and an aura of importance.
Tips to Capitalize on the Day
To assure you succeed:
- Ensure that discussion topics are relevant and meaningful to all generations.
- Make every effort to create a non-threatening environment, so people will speak honestly and not fear for their jobs.
- Take polls at the beginning and end of the day to assess attitude change.
- Before the end of the day, each discussion group should decide on a few meaningful action steps and an accountability process with metrics. The group should also commit to schedule subsequent discussions that will continue the conversation and move the needle toward multigenerational understanding and collaboration.
- Designate a point person with management support to oversee follow-up steps and arrange (ideally) quarterly, shorter Cross-Generational Conversation Day discussions.
- End the day with action steps and assignments and on an upbeat and celebratory note.
Does Your Money Intention Match Your Money Attention?
The 10 Advantages of Becoming More Emotionally Intelligent
A Tool That Helps Prepare Vets for Civilian Employment
The One Behavior to Make a Difference in the Ability to Impact the Lives of Others
8 Tips for Delivering Your Portfolio Manager Commentaries Faster
Who Are You Serving?
Your To-Do List Won’t Suffer When You Do This Too
How to Budget for the Holidays
2019 Will Be a Pivotal Year for Asset Managers
An Employee Advocacy Program Can Make Your Content Go Viral
Equities19 hours ago
These Oil Stocks Are Ticking Time Bombs
Building Smarter Portfolios19 hours ago
The Market’s Wild Ride
Human Performance19 hours ago
5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Productivity At Work
Equities2 days ago
Bubble, Meet Pin; It’s Just the Beginning of the Downslide
Market Strategist2 days ago
Don’t Be Boxed Into Style Boxes
Development2 days ago
As an Advisor, Are You “The Great Communicator?”
Equities3 days ago
This Is the End of Trump’s Economic Sugar High
Development3 days ago
When You Cannot Think of a Better Way to Market Yourself, Try This…