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Successful multigenerational workplaces

October 15th, 2018 / By: / Category: Expo News

This is the first time in history that five distinct generations are working in a single workplace, says J. Karl Sherrill Jr., a certified risk manager with Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC, in his 2018 Expo session “Leading Successful Teams in a Multigenerational Workplace.”

“It’s a trend affecting every business,” says Sherrill. “You have people ages 18 through 80 working together in the same workplace. Managing your team differently will help you find and keep workers, which is the number one issue affecting our industry today.” Sherrill says the most important thing a manager can do, even more important than offering higher wages, is to help teams understand how and why different generational groups think and act differently.

“To future-proof your business, you need to look at your older and younger workers like a puzzle that needs some help putting all the pieces together.” For example, he says, GenXers grew up bridging both written content and technology. Sherrill says managers can take advantage of their skills by using them to train older workers to use new technology. As another example, he says millennials have strong opinions about things because they grew up with access to the internet and are adept at researching nearly everything. Sherrill suggests engaging them by embracing their strong opinions and tasking them with researching and finding solutions to company problems.

“Younger workers are less motivated by money than by flexible schedules and being competitively challenged,” he says. Sherrill warns managers not to force these workers into roles designed for older employees. “Younger workers, such as Generation Z, are like canaries in a coal mine for your business. Embrace them and their mindset. If they’re not attracted to your company culture or they don’t stick around, that’s an indicator of future problems for your company.”