Lesson: Bridging The Generation Gap in the Workplace

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Lesson Objective

Bridging The Generation Gap

Lesson Plan

In the 21st century, bridging the gap between young and old is critical for a company to remain competitive. This will help attract new talent, develop the skills of existing employees and keep pace with the ever-changing environment we all live in. Here are some tips to consider if you are interested in creating a work environment that welcomes young workers.

Workplace programs. Young people today need not be "on the clock" to be productive. Many companies offer free after-work opportunities. Many other companies have a program that allows employees to take advantage of a weekend away from work. These opportunities can provide them with a chance to get away from the office and enjoy a new environment, learn new skills and reconnect with others who are similar to them.

Work/life balance. Most companies recognize the importance of having a well-balanced work/life balance. They understand that the success of any organization is directly related to the quality of their work force and the overall health and happiness of their employees. Many companies are willing to provide flexible work hours and benefits packages to allow employees to fit work into their lives.

Communication. If employees feel that they can speak freely with the management about concerns, they are more likely to do so. If a manager doesn't have open and honest communication with their staff, they may find that their motivation wanes and the company suffers.

Flexibility. Some employers are not satisfied with the current state of their work force. In these cases, they might be willing to change the way they recruit, train and pay employees. They may even welcome applicants who would not otherwise be considered for the position because they don't fit the standard "ideal" employee profile. Some companies do hire outsource jobs where they are not sure that the candidate will meet expectations or perform as they expect.

Diversity in the workforce. Companies should be aware of the diversity issues that exist today. There are plenty of examples of companies who hire a large group of women, for example, and discover that it takes a little more than a handful of men to maintain an effective working environment.

Social awareness. A company should be proactive in creating a work environment that promotes learning, appreciation and interaction with those who share the same interests and values with you as your company. This can make everyone in the workplace happier and better performers.

Creating this type of environment doesn't have to be difficult. It just takes common sense and the desire to do so.

First, you should identify and evaluate your current work culture. Then, you need to come up with ideas for bridging the gap. If you are willing to spend time doing this, you will be surprised by some of the ideas. One idea is to take a survey of your current employees and find out what they want. and don't want.

What do they want? How does their company get them what they want? Is there room to grow and do new things?

If you're willing to take this route, you have the opportunity to create a company where the people who work here are constantly pushing the boundaries, push the envelope and push themselves to their maximum potential. By this process, you will find that you can attract the best employees and they are willing to work harder, too. For example, when your employees ask for more money, you must offer more, and they want more freedom. This is when you can put forth a challenge for a performance evaluation. and make a real effort to improve the overall level of commitment and productivity in your company.

You also have the opportunity to improve morale in your employees by providing the type of workplace they have always wanted. By putting more focus on the needs of others, by increasing benefits and increasing work hours, you can help your company thrive by creating a feeling of belonging within your company. When your employees feel that they are valued and respected, they are far less likely to take criticism personally and to question your leadership.

Bridging the generation gap is not about "pulling up the ladder". It's about being willing to take the first few steps and getting people on the first rung.

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