Once you question the cliché of inter-generational conflict, you may find that age diversity has the potential to enrich your company.
Today’s workplace is the most age diverse in history. No fewer than four generations are working side by side, and experts predict that in coming decades more could share the workplace, thanks to increasingly later retirement.
From traditionalists and baby boomers, through to Gen X and Millennials, the ages gathered around the water cooler might span more than four decades.
The new workplace encompasses an array of potential challenges for the people and culture department. A manager who is 20 years younger than her next-in-command, for example; or someone in their forties who’s new to the industry after a mid-career change.
How best to create a cohesive workforce out of this melting pot of values, expectations and work styles? It’s become a hot topic across the globe, with books, TED talks and entire conferences addressing the issue.
The consensus is that organisations worldwide need to adapt to their generational diversity – and fast.
RiseSmart* – a Randstad company is an Australian company specialising in career transition. Fiona Hitchiner, NSW Equal Employment Opportunity Practitioners’ Association (NEEOPA) Vice-President and former Strategic Relationship Manager NSW at RiseSmart, believes that an organisation’s strength lies in the greater pool of available skill sets offered by a generationally diverse workforce.
“When you come at it from a strengths-based approach, as we do, and bring together all the positives each generation offers, you see real positive change in organisations,” she says.