Workplaces are more diverse than ever before with at least 3 to 4 generations working together, sharing the same workspace. CMO survey revealed that companies today are made up of mixed generations who bring their own unique styles, needs, goals, and traits for employers to consider. And by 2025, 99.3 percent of the workforce will comprise older and younger generations, including Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generations Z.
Workplace diversity brings in diverse skills and experiences which can drive business success, but managing its harmony might not be a piece of cake. In fact, age discrimination is common among older generations. AARP research revealed that nearly 2 out of 3 workers ages 45 and older have seen or experienced age discrimination on the job. Among the 61 percent of respondents who reported age bias, 91 percent said they believe that such discrimination is common.
Moreover, the age diversity might prompt another generation gap issue such as communication preferences. Purdue University survey revealed that older generations prefer direct communication either in-person or call, while younger generations are more comfortable with texting and socialising through online social media.
More of the generation gap, as surveyed by Dr K R Subramanian, is that many older people have deep roots in their communities but few connections, while many young individuals have hundreds of connections but no root in communities. Social divisions between young and old mirror financial ones. Likewise, all too often, older generations view Millennials as being entitled and lazy, due to the entirely different way of life that Millennials follow.
Leaders can help eliminate the misunderstanding and generation gap posed by different age groups within the workforce by instilling the value of acceptance and understanding in both younger and older generations. HR should also be able to bridge the communication between a diverse workforce and acknowledging the diverse employees that they can eliminate age discrimination and generation gap by learning from one another.
Dan Schawbel in his book Back to Human wrote that while the diversity cannot be avoided, with the right culture and leadership style, older and younger generation can learn valuable materials from each other, such follows:
Judy Hoberman, a leadership expert and president of Selling In A Skirt, suggested that we can learn so much from other generations when it comes to our businesses if we give each other opportunities to learn and share. Besides, Hoberman added, the most important thing in the world of business is to raise the next generation, while anything else might not be as deeply satisfying.