THREE REASONS WHY SEGREGATING GENERATIONS IN THE WORKPLACE IS A BAD IDEA
At a recent workshop on women in business, I heard several women from the baby boomer generation complaining that millennial women seemed to have a poor work ethic, and that it was hard to mentor them. They said that younger women were so busy in the internet they didn’t bother building relationships.
At the same time, I heard younger women of the millennial generation, complaining that older women were condescending, resisted change, and didn’t understand how to use technology and social media.
These complaints were by no means the norm, or represented consistent themes but could result in women segregating themselves by generation which would be detrimental for all generations of women. Here are three reasons why segregating generations in the workplace is a bad idea.
1. Millennials bring a new way of using technology- they are able to get more done in less time, more efficiently. This does not negatively effect interpersonal relationships as some older people claim, but can actually improve the way employees interact with each other if employers are conscious.
2. More experienced workers are more likely to feel threatened and concerned that they will be perceived as dinosaurs and become obsolete. Millennnials will have to move beyond the perception that they will be ignored or their knowledge invalidated because of age and lack of experience. The sharing of information and cross mentoring between older and younger employees will create organizations that are huge repositories of knowledge. There are actions that employers can take so older employees will feel respected and acknowledged and be more willing to share what they know, and so younger employees will feel appreciated, and respected, be willing to learn from older employees and share ways in which technology can be used to help everyone be successful.
3. Millennials are more outcome based as opposed to having to sit in an office all day when it is unnecessary. Some organizations have telecommute programs, using web-ex technology to allow millennials to work from home, from coffee shops or satellite offices. This will also benefit older employees who are taking care of parents at home, have little kids or find that they get more done out of the office. If employers are aware of these three things, it can help them leverage millennials along with members of the other generations. .