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People always say old and young don’t mix. The younger generation often accuses the older of being closed-minded and technological-challenged, whereas the tenured thinks that tech-savvy workers are reckless and self-absorbed.
But there are always two sides of a coin. As true as these stereotypes may be, the diverse opinions and work styles can be extremely useful in the workplace as each group offers different perspective, as suggested by the quarterly Randstad Workmonitor Q2 2018 report.
The U.S.-based study revealed that 90% of the respondents prefer having colleagues of different ages because everybody gets to see other sides of a story. However, misaligned communication among different generation group has created barrier, which calls for tailored communication styles according to the report.
When asked about their preference in direct managers, 84% say the age of their direct managers is not important as long as they are inspirational, but 76% admit that they prefer their direct managers be the same age or older. Surprisingly, a vast majority (92%) of the workers aged 25 to 34 see the value of a more tenured manager and says they’d rather have an older boss.
That said, communication was found to be a major obstacle in the multigenerational work environment, with over three quarters (81%) of respondents agreeing that communication styles are the primary difference between generations in the workplace. More than a third of workers (38%) admit they find it difficult to communicate with coworkers who are not in their own age group.
The study also looked at the gender difference, with almost twice as many males (49%) as females (27%) to report difficulty communicating with coworkers outside of their generation.
When asked about how they feel about their direct managers in working together with various generations, 83% say their managers are talented at it. 58% say their direct managers treat colleagues from various generations differently. The report further advised that managers should tailor their communication styles to individual team members.
As expected, more workers prefer to connect with colleagues (54%) than their bosses (33%) on social media. Younger employees (75%) are particularly more engaged with colleagues via social channels than the those aged 55 to 67 (33%).
Commenting on the findings, Jim Link, chief human resources officer for Randstad North America, said, “Part of the challenge of managing effectively is knowing how to relay your message, which requires understanding the individual communication styles of the people on your team and how they approach their work.”
The new generation is joining the workforce, which leads to a greater variety of expectations around workplace communication. “People in different stages of their lives and careers are also motivated in different ways, and managers must work to tailor feedback to help individuals maximise their potential,” added Jim.
ALSO READ: ‘They ain’t old; they’re my colleagues’
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