While all workplaces have generational gaps between employees, some small businesses find it difficult to bridge these differences and improve synergy among coworkers. With retirement ages rising and more young professionals launching their careers than ever before, companies must learn new ways of promoting teamwork and preventing internal conflict or, even worse, discrimination.
On this episode of The Small Business Show, host Shyann Malone is joined by Brad Szollose, serial entrepreneur, creative director, keynote speaker and author of “Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia—Multi-generational Management Ideas That Are Changing the Way We Run Things.” Szollose gained his own insights into generational gaps during his work as a tech executive, which has seen some of the most extreme differences in age demographics. For years, he has helped other companies learn strategies that promote productivity and engagement, leading to increased staff retention and improved relationships among coworkers. Now, he discusses his methods for bridging gaps and managing a cross-generational workforce.
1. Age groups are motivated by different and sometimes opposite wants and needs. Without a better understanding of the specific things that motivate separate demographics, these motivators can create generational gaps among coworkers.
2. Baby boomers are becoming disillusioned with the modern work environment. This is because many have found themselves working for younger, more affluent bosses, which contradicts their beliefs that hard work translates into greater authority and respect.
3. Launching an employee-run recognition program can result in drastic improvements in engagement and synergy, effectively overcoming generational gaps.
4. To reduce the effects of generational gaps, companies should begin offering leadership training at a much younger age so bad habits that worsen relationships with older employees do not have time to form.
5. Natural leaders who have already earned their coworkers’ respect can be vital resources for overcoming age differences within a company.
"[Multi-generational management] is having a deep understanding that what motivates a millennial will never motivate a baby boomer, and also knowing what Gen X wants, what millennials want and the next generation that's coming out, Gen Z." — Brad Szollose