It’s natural for any new worker to look around to see how many people are around their age at first, but there’s a huge opportunity lost when companies only recruit one age group.
Generational conflict will always exist based on style preference alone.
But workplaces can flip the script on older vs. younger in one swoop: cross-generational mentoring.
When you think of mentor it is assumed older-to-younger knowledge transfer, but don’t mistake age for experience.
Millennials were raised with technology so even with lacking workplace experience, their digital knowledge is far superior than generations above them. On the opposite end Boomers and Gen X understand office politics, communication and responsibility better.
This “fair trade” can be a huge asset to your bottom line if utilized properly.
There’s no better teacher than trial and error. Also if you really want to understand a concept, teach it. When workers are paired with co-workers of different ages the focus is on individual strengths instead of nitpicking about disparity.
Professional development is a huge retention benefit and when companies empower that responsibility to co-workers there’s more ownership taken because each person is involved with the process.
The term diversity normally pertains to ethnicity, but age diversity is just as important.
The healthiest organizations find ways to appreciate and value workers of all ages because everyone has something to offer others.
If employees expect management to provide direction solely, workers gain a “consumer’s” mentality believing learning needs to be spoon-fed to me. When cross-generational mentoring exists “learning” becomes a personal responsibility. Companies need to quickly dispel the notion that growth opportunities only happen within a organizational context.
When I advise clients who are job searching I always emphasize that personal growth is your responsibility. Anything a company provides is a bonus.
Make it your mission to find a mentor and mentee and learning becomes a habit, not a destination.