Human Resources

Coworker Compatibility in a Multi-Generational Workplace

Oct 1, 2018

Written by Holly Coon, Staffing Associate.

Today’s workforce is made up of 5 generations. Coworker compatibility in a workplace does not always come easy, and a multi-generational team is no exception. When working with diverse teammates– whether cultural, educational, or generational differences exist—making it (business) work starts with effective and open communication.

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Tips for effective and open communication

  1. Listen to understand
  2. Think, speak, act without bias or judgement
  3. Give feedback, Take feedback
  4. Treat all teammates with respect

Tips for working specifically with millennials from a millennial.

Tip to other generations working with millennials: Millennials don’t like labels, period. We don’t like labels because we have grown up in a much more cultured society than other generations before us. This has molded us to be accepting of other’s beliefs and individuality. We have learned to get to know people before we judge them. Yes, you read that right. We are also still guilty of passing judgement.  However, we are wired to connect with people, therefore, we are sensitive to others who do not do the same and if we ever hear you mention age as if it’s a reason for an adverse opinion, shortcoming, or inadequacy we will take it personally.

Tip to other generations working with millennials: Millennials don’t appreciate the presumption that most of us are “entitled”. This is quick to break the trust. My peers grew up earning their grades just like all the generations before them. Therefore, the people of my generation know how to work hard, however, some of them don’t have the drive nor what it to takes to follow through with tasks (just like a lot of people from every generation). I’m sure you have a few peers you would say the same of. Millennials are passion driven. They work hard when they are engaged. They also prefer to change the work hard into the work smart, to ensure their passion doesn’t burn out. Next time it looks like they aren’t working hard, take a closer look. Have they just improved upon an otherwise hard task?

Lastly, I am going to tell you what millennials love. We love being pushed past our breaking point. As a millennial, you are forced to grow up quicker to keep up with societies unreasonable expectations of what or who you should be. We have spent our entire lives living up to the expectation that the sky is the limit, mistakes are unacceptable, if you don’t try you fail, practice makes perfect, and all the other clichés attempting to drive excellence. To give earlier generations the benefit of the doubt, we do know you just wanted us to do better, be better, have better. So, don’t slap our hand for always wanting more. We simply also intend on leaving our mark on the world, at any given chance.

 

Let’s take a moment to think about these things.  Millennials don’t like labels and judgements, but who does? Millennials don’t like being presumed as entitled. Would you want your efforts to be swiped under the rug by such a categorization? Millennials love being challenged. When you are passionate about something, don’t you want to become better, the best at it?

You get to choose if the relationships around you are going to be positive or negative. Sure, we are all going to get irked by our coworkers every now and then, but next time don’t just fork it up to a generational difference. Seek to understand. Get to the root cause and challenge yourself to work through the issue you have together.  Millennials appreciate efforts made to connect with them and understand their perspective. This is a quick path to coworker compatibility.

At HireLevel, we are always looking for doers and thinkers and top talent; people who are ambitious and results-driven; people who are self-motivated but team oriented; people who are passionate about others as well as taking things to a higher level. If this sounds like you or someone you know, please reach out to sloucks@hirelevel.com