Culture Clash And The Multi-Generational Workplace

By Louise Bauer Davoli

Multi-generational workplace environments are the new diversity challenge facing many workplace settings. Culture clash now includes employees from different generations being thrown into the workplace mix. This generational blend can create challenges over everything from language to workplace mores.

There is a significant new dilemma in the workplace, and it has zilch to do with downsizing, global competition, pointy-headed bosses, stress or greed. In its place, is the reality of distinct generations coming together at work. We currently have the group known as Veterans or traditionalist, next come the Baby Boomers, Gen X, and finally Gen Y frequently working side by side and often colliding as their paths cross. Individuals with different values, different ideas, different ways of getting things done and different ways of communicating in the workplace have always existed. The difference today is that this is the first time in our country's history where we have four different generations mixing it up at work.

Due to this multi-generational cocktail, workplace roles are all over the place and the rules for workplace engagement are being rewritten daily. These generational distinctions can affect everything, including recruiting, building teams, dealing with change, motivating, managing, and maintaining and increasing productivity. Companies and managers can link these generational variations, integrate the workforce and get success recruiting, managing, motivating and retaining employees. This can be achieved through better understanding of the role that personality type and preference plays in communication styles, preferred work environments, colleague interaction and primary motivations in the workplace.

Possible Strategies

-- Myers-Briggs
-- Develop Leadership all levels
-- Enhance Self Understanding
-- Foster Appreciation

Through the Myers-Briggs, employees increase self-understanding and appreciation for others. This kind of insight can be used to gain awareness about the underlying generational differences that impact today's workplace.

Everyone desires a work environment that encourages employees to be productive and significant contributors, each generation is no exception. Regular coaching and mentoring can encourage all staff. It takes advantage of employees potential by playing to their strengths, while at the same time, helping them recognize and understand their areas for improvement. The challenge facing employers in the organizations and companies is to create an environment that meets the needs and expectations of all employees, regardless of the generation.