There is a cultural gap between millennials and baby boomers that sometimes creates division in the workplace. Millennials want to be present parents and have impactful careers. They don't believe in busywork, instead choosing to work smarter not harder.
Baby Boomers live a strikingly different reality. Rewarded for their quiet hard work throughout their careers, they give up time with family but gain fulfillment from their contributions to their office and the ability to provide for their loved ones.
The experiences of both generations have framed values. Millennials watched their parents struggle to work their way through the ranks, sacrificing family for business along the way. Baby Boomers watched theirs' suffering through backbreaking work as laborers just to put food on the table. Both generations are seeking a better way.
The values of both generations play essential roles in today’s workforce. However, problems arise when they fail to step into each other’s shoes. Baby boomers often see millennials’ desire to leverage technology as know-it-all hotshots who are too lazy to do their jobs. In reality, millennials want to use technology for menial tasks so they can have a larger impact on their organization.
Millennials see baby boomers’ reluctance to adopt technology as obstinate old timers refusing to admit that the word is moving forward. But, learning how to use a new program or device does not come naturally to baby boomers as it does to Millennials. It is often quicker for them to do things the old-fashioned way.
So, how do you close the space between the old timers and the hot shots? Both groups are well intending and bring contributions to the table. It’s essential that each learns to see the value in the other.
Generation X plays a vital role in bridging the generational gap. The baby boomers raised them, and they parented the millennials. This left them with respect for the quiet dedication of the older generation and admiration for the outspoken tenacity of their children. If they show understanding for both sides, they can help create a stronger sense of community in the workplace.
Mentoring programs can also go a long way in fostering connections between the generations. The personal relationships that develop through mentoring break down the stereotypes and help close the generational gap. Millennials value education and are willing to learn. Baby boomers are happy to share their wisdom as long as their experience is appreciated.
If you want to get the most of out your employees, it's essential that you find ways to bridge the gap between the generations.