Bridging The Generational Divide in The Workplace


A Shakedown is Needed

A plan to make sure that you don’t suffer Generational Divide negatives in your organization is needed. As I say, repeatedly,  this must be a good part of a people transformation strategy in confrontation to the digital transformation change. Here are some experience which I’ve seen of value.

Before anything, it’s a Mature Leadership everywhere in the organization. A leadership that is enabled and is brave enough to enable others. Enabled Y’s and Z’s, with just enough observation to what they do, and how good they do it, supported by coaching on how to improve it, is a key point in alleviating the divide’s negative impact on the organization.

Then comes the concept of Autonomous Teams. Teams that are asked for solutions and guided to get them have been found to perform far more cohesively and efficiently than teams that are imperatively assigned roles as individuals.  X’s and Y’s stay there just to facilitate and provide help on demand.

If you get the right Enablement &  Autonomy in place, then be sure that you have bridged the divide, at least by 90%. The people are happier and the operation is smoother. You Everybody is a winner!

A crucial point that most X’s and Y’s Leave behind is Engagement. Higher-ups usually find themselves more with numbers, not people.  This, from a modern organizational perspective, is a disaster. Gradually it hurts the loyalty of the Z’s. In many cases, you find them asking questions about issues crucial to their careers like the company’s vision to the future and facts about the wellness of the business and they  find one answer, explicitly or implicitly, “That’s none of your business”. It has been proven from the field as well as research that workers need to talk, listen and be listened to. X’s and Y’s have to have room for that on their schedules. Time and whereabouts are becoming no more barriers. Webcasts, Webinars and even videoed messages are tools of the trade that must  exploited. Live face to face events, however simple and economic,  remain at the front row of the tool kit. It’s bounded of course by the organization size and budget. Feedbacks and polls on issues of specific interest and importance to the Z’s , answered back from X’s or Y’s with  attention and care are also important to build a culture of conversation between generations.  In all that,  prominent and creative  teams in Internal Marketing  and People’ Departments are the key players.

However, the reaction between these elements will not start inside organization unless you get the right  catalyst on top of all things. That is a culture of Mutual Respect, no matter the age, the rank, or whatever. Not only  to pay Respect,  but also expressing it! This single word is the cultural magic that without it nothing will work . Declare it as your number  one value all the way through the business. It’s the impenetrable Business Constitution that bonds all into one body.

Finally, but never less important, it’s the proper selection of the Y and Z elements  to join your forces. Most of us pay attention more to things like technical competence and experience together with some soft attributes that ensure they will fit happily in their jobs. That’s okay, but what I’d like to emphasize here is to design your interviews (and probing period) to discover those who price the number one business value as I explained before, Mutual Respect. If you fail to discover that, and maybe discover  it later that they can’t keep the value, dismiss at once, this is not only intolerable but even uncorrectable and toxic. Period.

In fact, one of the major design criteria in building People Re-engineering whichI have started sculpting recently as a complete people strategy  for development organization is  birding this gap and disarming its side effects on the development process. This will happen automatically if you design your people strategy based on that people re-engineering theme. It’s a good idea to go and take a look  after you read this. Here is a link of the first of a series of articles on the the strategy:

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Now let me wrap this section up by the statement I made in Italics in the beginnings of this treatise: While mentalities, knowledge and  guts may diverse, one thing remains constant for all: The Challenges, and that’s exactly y where things can start to harmonize.