How to Build Multi-Generational Collaboration At Your Organization

The demographics of the world are changing at a seemingly rapid pace, and nowhere else is this more evident than the various generations working side by side. As workers are waiting longer to retire simultaneous with younger workers entering the workforce to take their first positions, workplaces are reaping the rewards – and sometimes feeling the intricacies of – a multigenerational workforce.

Indeed, in any organization, you’ll find the four predominant generations present in the world today - Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z – producing alongside each other. Much has been written about the differences in these demographic groups, but one question is paramount: how do you encourage collaboration?

The good news is that it’s not as hard as it’s purported to be. It requires you to build bridges rather than focus on differences, so let’s talk about how to bring your multigenerational workforce together to enjoy profitability, productivity, and the accomplishment of your business goals:

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Enable real-time collaboration

Even though each generation comes with a variety of workplace technology experiences, enabling real-time connection with centralized platforms and communication tools will prove most effective. In fact, communication is the number one key to success: a Clear Company survey discovered lack of communication and collaboration caused workplace catastrophes for 86% of employees. Cloud-based platforms which allow for communication and project partnership brings everyone together seamlessly. The days of “face time” are over; technology is the tool to building bridges to progress.

Focus on similarities

Continually focusing on the differences of these individual age groups will continue to build silos where connection should be fostered.  Everyone is there to accomplish company goals, so look for the similarities in the individuals who are brought together to accomplish the corporate mission. An embrace of all aspects of diversity and inclusion means looking at the ways we’re all so much more alike than different, but in the same vein…

Honor individual perspectives

You DO need to remember each of these individuals has a different set of references along with cultural and sociological “norms” that need to be respected and heard. It’s looking for the common ground and abilities to come together for the good of the common goal that will make a difference here.

Focus on professional development and education

Regardless of generation, professionals want to feel as if they’re learning and growing toward their desired goals. Where Boomers may have concerns about being automated out of a job and Generation Z wish to acquire skills to remain market competitive, everyone can agree professional education and skill progression is a common pursuit. By offering consistent learning, upskilling, microlearning, and education opportunities both formal and informal, you’ll engender teamwork along with creating a greater connection to the company.

Embrace open workspace

The days where workplaces were split by office doors are seemingly no more: it’s time to embrace the open concept of working with designated spaces meant for both group meetings and private conversations. Not only can they foster group connection, but open plan working configurations can lower worker’s stress levels: a 2018 University of Arizona study discovered, “Workers in open office seating experience less daytime stress and greater daytime activity levels compared to workers in private offices and cubicles.”

It’s time to consider multigenerational workforces an asset to every organization: the mix of experiences, thoughts, and ideas can create incredible innovation. With the right tools and considerations, you can reap the rewards for your own company, building bridges to progress amongst your workers and to profitability for your organization.

Rita Trehan is the CEO of dareworldwide, a global transformation company and a  best -selling author of the Book entitled “Unleashing Capacity” Ben Laker is Professor of Leadership at Henley Business School, and Expert Commentator of Political Affairs at Bloomberg and Sky News

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