There’s a lot of talk about Generations X and Y, with Z rapidly appearing on the horizon. Yes, every generation is different; and it does take a certain amount of willingness to understand the individual traits, but we are more alike than we are different, and many of the Stereotypes are inaccurate negative assumptions.
So, how can you, as the manager, throw away the labels and create a culture where generational differences are just another diversity among your IT staff that brings strength to your organization?
1. Educate yourself on the natural differences caused by growing up in different environments and time periods. Learning about generational issues will contribute to your understanding of what motivates your employees at different ages and stages of their careers.
2. Talk about generational issues at a staff meeting. Give people an opportunity to share their thoughts, ideas for better understanding, and insight for clearing up misconceptions.
3. On the other hand, avoid stereotyping. Don’t assume that just because someone is Gen X, they aren’t as tech savvy as Gen Y. Avoid using labels - they tend to be too simplistic and are often inaccurate when applied to a specific individual. Working effectively with intergenerational colleagues means giving each person their due respect as an individual, rather than a part of a generation.
4. Embrace the diversity within each generation, but emphasize that while each generation has different strengths and perspectives, so do individuals within a generation. Point out that each person is valuable to the success of your IT team. Spend some time finding common ground and smoothing the way for everyone to work together effectively.
5. Set company guidelines for communication. Accommodate preferences within reason, but encourage your staff to step out of their personal boxes and meet each other halfway. Encourage a cultural that connects, rather than divides – a cultural supporting and encouraging a strong multigenerational team.
6. Support learning and career development across all age groups. Provide opportunities for older and younger employees to work together. Encourage training opportunities and project assignments that bring the generations together. Establish mutually mentoring pairs from different perspectives, generational and otherwise. This allows both to share knowledge with the other, creating a mutually beneficial connection.
7. Be a “generation friendly” manager. Be aware of and adapt your management style to individual needs - to the unique strengths and needs of each generation and individual. Check your bias – ensure that you aren’t subconsciously applying judgment based on generational preconceptions.
So there you have it – one tip for every day of the week. Seven keys to effectively managing a multigenerational IT department. Cynergies Solutions is here to help you create a bonded successful IT team. From contract to direct hire, we have solutions for all your IT employment needs. Contact us today.