The Multigenerational Workforce: Bridging the ‘Age Gap’

During the upcoming PMI19 Conference, featured speaker Lindsey Pollak will lead a workshop during the Aspiring Leaders’ Program on Nov. 4 and open the next day’s proceedings with a keynote presentation, titled “The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace,” a reflection of her book of the same title.

Millennials have become the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, and Generation Z workers are right behind them. Leaders and organizations must embrace the new ways of working that appeal to these digital-first generations, while continuing to appeal to Baby Boomers and Generation X, who will likely remain in the workforce for many years to come.

Within any organization, team, meeting, or marketing opportunity, you will likely find any combination of generations, each with their own attitudes, expectations and professional styles. To lead and succeed in business today, you must adjust to how Millennials work while continuing to accommodate more experienced colleagues.

During her PMI19 presentation, Lindsey will discuss how to adapt and win through proven strategies that serve all generations’ needs. The result will be a workplace that blends the best of each generation’s ideas and practices to design a smarter, more inclusive work environment for everyone.

In her book and during her presentation, Lindsey combines the most recent publicly available data with her own original research, using examples from Fortune 500 companies and other top organizations. She outlines the ways businesses, executives, mid-level managers, employees and entrepreneurs can tackle situations that may arise when diverse styles clash and provides clear strategies to turn generational diversity into business opportunity.

In a poll conducted by Randstad US, a majority of respondents said they prefer having work colleagues of different ages and believe that a variety of ages in the workplace is mutually beneficial. With that being said, the age gap is the reason that communication between generations can break down.

Results from the same Randstad US poll showed that 81% of workers agree that the primary difference between generations in the workplace is communication styles, and that 38% of workers find it difficult to communicate with coworkers who are not in their age group. However, men are nearly twice as likely as women to report difficulty communicating with coworkers outside of their generation.

The survey results also shed light on what motivates younger workers – inspirational managers who care about their employees’ career paths and collaboration between individuals of different generations.

Recent articles in Buildings magazine, “Managing the Multigenerational Workforce,” and Forbes, “Why A Multigenerational Workforce Is A Competitive Advantage,” give further insights into the challenges and opportunities facing many kinds of businesses today, such as knowledge transfer and the importance of mentoring.

As PMI begins to diversify its membership across generations, job functions, gender and more, its members will gain valuable insight from Lindsey’s presentation and from further exploring the workplace issues she will discuss.

Aside from the challenges of bringing generations together, when employees come to the point of understanding and effectively communicating, there is great potential to increase worker productivity and morale, regardless of the age of the workers.