We have entered an exciting time in the evolution of the workplace. With the Millennial generation (those born approximately 1982-1995, a.k.a. Generation Y) entering the workforce in large numbers and the delay in retirement for many Baby Boomers, today’s office space is often being shared by different generations.
There has been a lot of discussion around how work style differs between the Millennials and Boomers. With contrasting stereotypes, such as Millennials feeling entitled to fast promotions, and Boomers being out of touch with the technology of today, people are questioning whether the age gap can be overcome.
The first quarterly report I’ve written in partnership with The Hartford, titled Tomorrow @Work, terms this dynamic the “Generational Mashup.” Employers need to appeal to a variety of generations simultaneously to be successful, and employees of different generations must learn to work together to be successful.
While Millennials and Baby Boomers’ approaches might differ, maybe even contradict each other, these generations agree that the other generation of workers add value, according to The Hartford’s 2013 Benefits for Tomorrow Study.
The survey of full-time workers found almost nine in 10 Millennials (89 percent) agree that “Baby Boomers bring substantial experience and knowledge to the workplace.” And 89 percent of Millennials agree that “Baby Boomers in the workplace are a great source of mentorship.” Ninety-three percent of Baby Boomers agree that “Gen Y’ers bring new skills and ideas to the workplace.”
So, the good news in today’s multigenerational workforce is that the generations appreciate that difference leads to opportunity. Millennials feel that Boomers bring experience and knowledge. Boomers feel that Millennials bring innovation and creativity to the workplace.
Rather than letting different work styles or skill sets between coworkers frustrate you, instead, take advantage of them. Consider the idea of co-mentoring, where you and a co-worker from a different generation share knowledge and skills with each other.
Learning from others can deepen your knowledge, improve your skillset and enhance your long-term success.
Lindsey Pollak is a next generation career expert and author of Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World.