New Year 2015
In This Issue
President's Message
Your Career & Development - JOB BANKS
ACHE: Become Board Certified in Healthcare Management
UW Executive MHA and Medical Management Programs
2014-2015 Officers and Board Members
Get Involved! WSHEF Board and Committees
WSHEF Vision & Values
ACHE Tuition Waiver Assistance Program
DELIVERY of WSHEF Newsletter (Disclaimer)
WSHEF Fellow Spotlight: Anna Reach
Reflecting and Serving our Increasingly Diverse Communities
Message from Your ACHE Regent - Fall 2014
7 Common Credibility Blind Spots
The Secrets to Career Fulfillment
Managing a Workforce of Multiple Generations
Understanding Your Leadership Style
Newsletter Tools
Search Past Issues
Print-Friendly Article
Print-Friendly Issue
Forward to a Friend
Do you use a personal fitness tracking device?
Microsoft Band
•  ACHE Home Page
Chapter Officers
Andrea Zavos Turner, MHS, FACHE

Karin Larson-Pollock, MD, MBA, FACHE

Immediate Past President
Kimbra Wells Metz, MHA, FACHE

Lori Nomura, JD

Jim Cannon, MHA, FACHE

Managing a Workforce of Multiple Generations

For the first time in history, five generations—traditionalists, baby boomers, millennials, Gen X and Gen 2020—will soon be working side by side. Whether this multigenerational working environment feels productive and energizing or challenging and stressful is up to the organization’s leadership. Ideas to keep in mind are how to relate to employees from different age groups and how to motivate and encourage employees.  

Straight From the Experts

As people work for longer periods of time, internal career paths start to change. It’s becoming common to see someone younger managing someone older, which can lead to tension on both sides. “It’s important to be aware of general tension among colleagues,” says Jeanne C. Meister, a founding partner of Future WorkPlace—an executive development firm. “It’s your job to help your employees recognize that they have distinct sets of different things they bring to the table.”

Don’t Dwell on Differences

Generational stereotypes abound both inside and outside of the working environment. However, creating generation-based employee affinity groups is not beneficial to your organization, instead get to know each person individually as opposed to lumping them into a group with people their age. 

Build Beneficial Relationships

Managing someone older than you can seem like a daunting task, but it’s something the military routinely practices. The way to make this successful is to make the older employee a partner—involve them in everything you do, as well as hearing them out. You’re still making the decisions, but this way they feel involved. This type of collaborative effort also works well in managing workers in their 20s. Encourage debate to ease the transition from school to the workplace. 

Study Your Employees

By studying the demographics of your employees, you can determine what they want out of their jobs and how these desires differ (or not) from generation to generation. Conducting a survey inquiring about communication styles, career goals and other topics is a low-cost way to get a pulse on your workforce. Figure out what matters to different groups of employees and what you can do to attract younger or more experienced workers; it’s an easy way to discover potential generational career issues. 

Engage in Cross-Generational Mentoring

Pairing younger workers with experienced employees to work on business objectives—typically revolving around technology—is becoming more prevalent in companies across the nation. The younger employee can teach the older worker about social media, while the seasoned employee can share institutional knowledge with the young worker. Studies show colleagues learn more from each other than they would in formal training. Mixed-age work teams are another way to foster cross-generational mentoring. 

Consider Work Goals

Keep in mind where your employees are at in their lives and what their needs are when it comes to inspiring and incentivizing them. Younger people may not have many outside responsibilities—they are motived by new experiences and opportunities. Employees in their 30s and 40s often have children and mortgages and need flexibility as well as advancement opportunities; while those at the end of their careers may not be as interested in training but would enjoy a strong work-life balance. Understanding these desires will go a long way in figuring out how to challenge and motivate employees. 

—Adapted from “Managing People From 5 Generations,” by Rebecca Knight, Harvard Business Review Blog Network 


Previous Article
Next Article