VOICE December 2015 - page 7

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value opportunities to have more of a work/life balance
as they head towards retirement. Likewise, the middle
generations, who often have responsibilities such as a
family and/or a mortgage, will value flexibility, whilst
also appreciating opportunities for promotion or finan-
cial gain. Taking the time to find out about each of your
team’s lives can pay dividends; as
Peter Cappelli, profes-
sor of management at the Wharton School, says,
“Understanding the characteristics around these predict-
able life paths will help you figure out how best to [divvy
up] work assignments and also the best ways to manage
and motivate your team.”
2. Build Relationships
As I mentioned earlier, it is now much more common for
employees to be managing someone older than them.
Something that works well with this hierarchical shift is
to encourage a partnership between yourself and those
you manage. Older generations will feel involved and ap-
preciated if they are listened to, even if a final decision
isn’t entirely in line with their advice. This approach can
also be effective if you are managing generations younger
than you – particularly Millennials and iGens. A good
amount of people from these generations will have re-
cently moved into employment from educational institu-
tions. The collaboration and engagement of a partnership
will mimic the higher educational environment where
discussion is encouraged and will help these employees
transition into the workplace in a way that showcases the
best of their abilities and skills.
3. Cross-generational Mentoring
In this issue of Voice we have reviewed
The 2020 Work-
place
and it’s Co-author, Jeanne C. Meister, says this; “It’s
your job to help your employees recognize that they each
have distinct sets of skills and different things they bring
to the table”. One way to reveal, recognise and utilise
these skills is to implement a cross-generational mentor-
ing programme. These programmes can really help to
extend a variety of skills throughout your organisation by
allowing generational knowledge to be accessed by each
employee. For example; experienced employees, perhaps
from older generations, may have knowledge to offer in
the way of life skills. Their years in the work force may
have helped them manage conflict in the work place – a
skill that can be coached to an employee from a younger
generation. In return, an employee from a younger gener-
ation who will likely have vast technological experience –
particularly with social media – can educate a fellow em-
ployee about the benefits of using technology to their
advantage.
This approach can ensure that employees feel valued by
their organisation and can create a sense of loyalty if em-
ployees feel that the organisation has made time to invest
in a mentoring programme. There are benefits too when
considering talent retention. Not only will cross-
generational mentoring nurture and develop future lead-
ers; there is also the potential to retain female talent. By
having a mentor within the organisation who appreciates
their skills, women may be more encouraged to progress
within the organisation and the networking opportuni-
ties a mentor can provide may also help them rise up to
managerial or directorial roles. In addition, for those
women who do choose to have children, having a mentor
before and after maternity leave may help them to plan
and maintain their career both before and after their ma-
ternity leave.
By applying advice from the three points above, manag-
ers and organisations will start to see the benefit of hav-
ing a spread of generations in their workforce. With sig-
nificant changes in working patterns, style and approach;
businesses who do not take time to understand and ac-
commodate cross-generational engagement will find
themselves in the shallow end of the talent pool.
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Final Thoughts
“Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”
- The Imitation Game
“…I also believe that introversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and
only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward.”
- Susan Cain
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
- Winston Churchill
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