The modern workplace has a multi-generational workforce. Therefore, organizations face the challenge of bridging the gap and fostering collaboration between employees in different age groups.
During a Parichay ‒ Ask the Expert webinar, Satadru Chakraborty, HR Head, Signify Innovations Lab, responded to a line up of questions on the ‘The Future of Work in India: Trends, Skills, and Adaptability for HR Professionals.’ Answering a question on
a way to manage generational differences in today’s workplaces, he shared the below
steps for HR teams and managers to follow.
Don't assume that a set of people from a certain age group will behave in a particular manner. Also, never stereotype people and try to define their competencies and preferences based on your preconceived notions. Be aware of and respect the fact that the expectations, requirements, and experiences of different generations are different. Also, work closely with managers to ensure a culture of fair treatment for all. When this happens, you'll see a sea change in your workplace.
Not everybody would be willing to express their preferences and feelings on their own. Even the preferred channels of communication could vary from generation to generation and person to person. Therefore, foster a culture of open communication through preferred channels. Moreover, encourage people to embrace the most popular/common channels and express their thoughts and approaches. This can lead to a collaborative work environment where people are transparent with their colleagues and managers. A happy workforce results in a productive and collaborative workplace.
Differences in opinions are likely to crop up in the workplace. Since the beliefs and value systems of different age groups vary, it is essential to foster a sense of mutual respect and understanding. Sensitive topics like diversity, gender, and mental health can be encouraged but handled in a mature and transparent manner. Nobody should be singled out during these discussions. When diversity & inclusion (D&I) becomes a culture, people become more connected and comfortable at work.
HR and managers should never take sides. They should let every voice be heard and considered. There should not be a scenario of ‘you vs them’ at the workplace. Even the employees must be dissuaded from adopting that approach. Though it is common to see birds of a feather flocking together, employees must be urged to have an open mind where they collaborate and co-innovate with people from different generations and cultural backgrounds.
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