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Reaching a Middle Ground: Reconciling the Millennial Generation with the Boomers

By Alana Couvrette, 2017 CEO for Month

By 2025, Millennials will represent 75% of the total global workforce[1]. Considering these numbers, I would argue that one of the greatest challenges our society will face is reconciling the Millennial generation with the more seasoned one, the Boomers.

A lot of generational stereotypes are out there. Pundits will say that Boomers are old, set in their ways and technophobes. Millennials, on the other hand, are viewed as selfish, entitled and hopeless narcissists. However, instead of pointing fingers, we should think more constructively and put our efforts into identifying ways to stop this growing generational chasm.

Although at the individual level, there is cause for a change in mentality, thought leadership should originate chiefly at the macro level: through organizations. Workplaces are where generational reconciliation must occur, which means that organizations must play a leading role in creating the conditions for its success.

Initiatives like Adecco’s CEO for One Month help this reconciliation effort by breaking down institutional and hierarchical silos. On one hand, it allows the millennial generation to interact directly with senior management, giving them a chance to learn from their expertise and vast experience. It’s an opportunity for the Boomer’s institutional memory to be transferred to younger generations.

On the other hand, it also encourages senior management to move out of their comfort zone and incites them to be open to new ideas. Millennials can help Boomers stay relevant, in a world of constant change.

However, we don’t need initiatives as articulate as CEO for One Month to create change. It can be as simple as implementing a mentoring program or organizing weekly “Lunch with Senior Management” sessions, to foster dialogue between employees.

We shouldn’t pursue this objective simply because “it’s the right thing to do”. There is pragmatic impetus to unite generations. In the long run, investing in bridging generational gaps will result in a stronger, more efficient work culture.

Successfully navigating our intergenerational future requires crafting the right organizational strategies -sooner rather than later.

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/workday/2016/05/05/workforce-2020-what-you-need-to-know-now/#3b1973c2d632

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