Reduce conflict, engage employees, and improve customer experience with a multigenerational mentoring program.
If you are managing a team in today’s workplace, chances are that you are managing multiple generations—often, up to 4! Multigenerational management has become a hot topic in recent months as the workplace undergoes an important demographic shift. More employees are working later in life than ever before, while younger generations come of working age and enter the labor force.
Much has been said about the conflicts and costs that a multigenerational workforce can cause, as well as the benefits of multigenerational diversity. The most difficult question remains: how does a multigenerational leader capture the benefits of generational diversity while mitigating the costs? The best answer to this question is to put a multigenerational mentoring program in place. Here are a few reasons why.
1. Reduce Generational Conflict
Conflict most often arises when people of differing backgrounds, perspectives, and/or values cannot understand each other. It is common for employees in a multigenerational workplace to naturally connect with others of the same age group, creating “generational cliques” rather than making meaningful connections with others on the team who may be different from them. This is a natural and common behavior across all generations, not just one or a few.
Multigenerational mentoring breaks through this barrier by encouraging employees of different ages and generations to connect with each other on a more meaningful level. This internal networking helps employees learn about each other and understand one another on a deeper level. It also helps improve how they communicate with each other. Understanding others’ experiences, perspectives, and values while improving communication are the keys to reducing conflict in the workplace. It will also encourage greater team development and innovation.
2. Team Development
Much conversation and controversy have been made about the benefits and lack thereof of both older and younger generations. The common stereotypes can be summed up as: Older employees are too slow and unwilling to learn new things, while younger employees are lazy and entitled. These generational stereotypes are harmful to your team’s development. The truth is that all generations on your team have something valuable to contribute to the team and the organization as a whole. A multigenerational mentoring program will help highlight those strengths and share them amongst others on your team.
In your multigenerational mentoring program, pair or group younger employees that are more tech-savvy with more experienced employees that have better executive presence and professional experience. Each group is able to learn from each other’s strengths, skills, and experiences in these different areas. You more experienced employees learn important technical skills that will help keep them operating efficiently in a technology-driven world, while your younger employees will begin developing the professional skills they need to fill your leadership pipeline in the future.
3. Innovation & Problem Solving
Research and studies have indicated that generationally diverse teams can be better at creative problem solving and innovation. This strength largely relies on how collaborative and cohesive the team is, which makes the argument for incorporating a multigenerational mentoring program compelling. By reducing generational conflict by facilitating understanding and open communication and improving team development, your organization is primed for improved innovation and problem-solving.
A generationally diverse team is able to bring in different ideas, perspectives, and experiences that nurture a culture of innovation. It also helps reduce the pitfalls of “groupthink” that teams can fall into, particularly when a diversity of ideas is not present. Groupthink reduces a team’s ability to make good decisions and innovate business practices effectively. When employees have a diverse internal network within your organization, they are able to tap into that diversity more effectively to help solve important business problems.
4. Employee & Customer Experience
Employee and customer experience are intertwined and crucial to your organization’s success. An employee that is not feeling engaged and motivated will not provide the best customer experience that you rely on to retain customers and attract referrals to increase profits.
Because multigenerational mentoring helps improve the 3 points discussed above, your employees’ experiences working in your organization improve and develop a culture of inclusiveness and collaboration. This culture, in turn, improves employee engagement, making each person more personally invested in the success and reputation of your brand. This personal investment leads to greater customer experience through interactions with an engaged and motivated employee; one who is being developed to use the technology available to provide fast, effective service and to communicate with customers professionally and clearly through various channels.
5. Your Bottom Line
There are many things that contribute to the growth of your bottom line. Two of the most important drivers are your team and your customers. When you are able to manage a multigenerational team effectively, your organization will enjoy the profits of greater innovation, improved collaboration and problem-solving, more engaged employees, and happier customers.
A multigenerational mentoring program is a simple change that has the ability to make a big impact on your team, your organizational culture, and your bottom line. Learn more about how to improve your multigenerational management skills by signing up for one of our Leadership Skills Workshops.