Managing the Multigenerational Workforce

By Sharon Carney  |  May 8, 2013

It’s tough to talk to an employee when you can hear the music coming through her iPhone earbuds. On the other hand, she’d say that an email — or more likely, a text — would solve the problem. You wouldn’t have to communicate face to face for a simple request.

Seniority usually wins in such cases. But your young employee knows your company’s systems very well, and she can whip through routine tasks at least as quickly as old pros.

That’s just one front in the generational battle now going on in companies across the country.

On one side, you have the Baby Boomers, long the largest generation in the workplace — and a formidable group of players. They don’t need much feedback, prefer to work independently, and would rather sit in a conference room than a chat room.

On the other side — the Millennials. Despite facing tough job prospects, they see technology as a facilitator, getting the mundane out of the way swiftly so they can work flexible hours (in jeans, of course) and focus on the aspects of their jobs that they enjoy.

Generation X is sandwiched in between, dwarfed by the twin pillars on either side. Something of a bridge between the other two, Gen X prefers its independence, isn’t afraid of technology, and takes a pragmatic view toward its preferences in the workplace. Of course, Gen Xers can expect to share some senior management positions with the Millennials as the Boomer generation exits the workforce.

As a manager, you need to handle the conflict — latent and sometimes blatant. Worldviews are colliding, and that affects your company’s ability to get things done.

Join us at the 2013 PAAS Annual Form to discuss the challenges and gain insights you can use every day to:

  • manage intergenerational conflict
  • relate to employees of different generations
  • facilitate a more productive work environment
  • help everyone understand each other better

The challenge is not small, and with economic conditions keeping Boomers in the workforce longer, it isn’t likely to go away soon. Stephen Anderson, learning and development manager at Verisk Analytics, will help you with strategies for managing the multigenerational workforce. And bring your questions: We’re expecting a lively discussion.

Join us from June 9 to 12 in New Orleans for the 2013 PAAS Annual Forum.

Sharon Carney

Sharon L. Carney is assistant vice president of the Premium Audit Advisory Service (PAAS), a unit of ISO, and has more than 30 years of insurance industry experience.