Generational differences among employees can have a big impact an organization’s performance—for better or worse. Each generation brings a unique set of skills, values and ideas about work, and each has something to teach other generations. CW Senior Editor Jessica Burnette-Lemon asked Giselle Kovary about some of the pitfalls and best practices of working with mutiple generations in the workplace. Kovary is president and co-founder of n-gen People Performance Inc., a consultancy dedicated to building strategies and programs that help clients target, motivate and engage employees in order to increase performance and productivity. The co-author of Loyalty Unplugged: How to Get, Keep & Grow All Four Generations and Upgrade Now: 9 Advanced Leadership Skills, she has devoted more than 13 years to researching the impact that generational differences have on organizational performance.
Jessica Burnette-Lemon: What impact can generational differences in the workplace have on organizational performance?
Giselle Kovary: Each generational cohort brings unique values, expectations and behaviors. Often, these may differ based on how each generation defines a workplace issue, such as loyalty, relationship with authority or work style.
Organizational performance can be affected, positively or negatively, based on how well each generation is engaged, motivated, rewarded and developed.
To ensure organizational success, there are several areas that leaders ought to proactively address:
Leveraging experienced employees
Given the aging workforce, a greater percentage of older employees stay in organizations later in their careers. Since many employees may choose not to retire, or cannot afford to do so, older employees can work well into their 70s. This workforce shift can be seen as both a challenge and an opportunity. While more “experienced” employees can bring great insight and expertise to your business,
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