If you have been reading this blog for the past several weeks, you have taken a journey with us to explore the unique attributes of each generation in the workplace. These value and characteristic differences can either be embraced and incorporated into the very fabric of our work environments or can fester into a major issue in the office. You may ask yourself why care? We have heard from so many people of various ages that the “kids” in the office just need to get with it and change their ways and on the flip side, “we just can’t wait for the Baby Boomers to retire and get out of our way”.
These types of comments are more prevalent then you might think and I am sure most may not have said it, but have thought it. This is rooted in frustration and cultural misunderstandings that can only begin to change with open communication and mutual respect. This rhetoric can only lead to a toxic work environment that lacks innovation, teamwork, and success in doing the hard work nonprofits are asked to do.
So, what can we do about it? The first step is to talk about the issue of generational differences with the same weight as we talk about other cultural competence issues. Once we know where everyone is coming from (we don’t have to necessarily agree) we can identify major issues and work out action plans that includes all age workers and the unique strengths they bring to the workplace.
Nonprofits and businesses, who begin to be proactive about these issues and create a work climate that truly respects the contribution and value of all workers, will far surpass those of us that wait in the shadows until there is a major crisis with engaging young workers to fill leadership positions vacated by older workers. If you don’t know where to begin, Catalyst is the organization for you. We can help facilitate these conversations and provide technical assistance for your organization. If you are interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org