Squashing Generational Stereotypes
Generational stereotypes are placed on employees of all ages. However, this type of mentality is counterproductive and only infringes on perceptions of these employees in the workplace. Let’s squash the rumors by first showing the stereotypes that are placed on these groups by others, and then we’ll show the value that each group brings to the workplace that counters the rumours about these generational workforces.
The general stereotypes that exist about Millennials is that they’re:
- Lazy: don’t want to do any work, procrastinate and pass on tasks they’re being assigned.
- Entitled: won’t do work that’s not within their scope.
- Privileged: not willing to go the extra mile to do things.
- Can’t take criticism: too sensitive, not able to see their flaws and learn from them.
The truth is that Millennials bring a lot of added value to any team, bringing with them an eager work ethic and a zest for knowledge. Students and young professionals are highly competent, so try out one of these programs to encourage professional development for this generation so you can hire them to your workforce.
Wondering how to nurture the bonds with Millennials? Have open lines of communication so they can come to you for clarification and you can get them used to talking about areas of concern that you might have. Want to keep them engaged? Keep them busy. Millennials are used to multitasking, so throw different tasks at them to keep them involved and increase their exposure to new things.
The general stereotypes that exist about Generation X is that they’re:
- Too involved in their families: not interested in working long hours.
- Cynical and standoffish: doesn’t want to mentor young professionals.
Not every person in Generation X has a family, but if they do, they shouldn’t be criticized for wanting a work-life balance. Employees of all ages desire a work-life balance, as it’s an important element to enabling a more passionate workforce. If any employees are looking for flexible work schedules, regardless of if it is for family-friendly reasons, happy employees are beneficial to your company. Period. Find a way to promote a proper work-life balance in your workplace.
Many members of Generation X are in leadership and mentorship roles, leading employees of all ages despite the notion that they’re disengaged and disinterested in mentoring. If your company is interested in starting a mentorship program, think about integrating employees from all generations. Baby Boomers, Millennials and Generation X have a lot to teach their co-workers, so pair up employees to encourage healthy dialogue between different age groups.
The general stereotypes that exist about Baby Boomers is that they’re:
- Out of touch: can’t keep up with technology.
- Waiting for retirement: aren’t motivated anymore, just waiting until they can stop working.
- No patience: aren’t resilient enough to try things again.
Older workers bring their own benefits, such as not sweating the small stuff since they’ve garnered enough experience to know that some things aren’t worth getting worked up over. Plus, with many years of experience under their belt, they have a lot of wisdom to impart so don’t be quick to judge based on age.
Collaboration in the workplace is a great way to soar past the stereotypical negativities that plague employees of all generations. Embracing differences and learning from each other will help to alleviate any sensitivity and allow the teams to grow together, not apart.