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How can leaders manage different generations at work?

How can leaders manage different generations at work?

How do your coworkers communicate? Are they constantly "plugged in," or are they hesitant to rely on evolving forms of digital communication?

If your company mirrors the modern-day office environment, your coworkers are an even mix of tech-savvy millennials, skeptical Gen Xers, and tech-wary baby boomers. Conflicting attitudes and communication styles can pose problems for managers, especially as collaboration is increasingly encouraged in today's workplace. How can leaders address the challenges that result from generational differences?

Accommodate different learning styles: Managers should increase their understanding of generational differences and take advantage of the strengths of each generation. For example, managers can set up mentoring relationships between younger and older employees. Younger employees can learn from senior employees' experience, and older employees can learn from their younger peers about how to adapt to changing technology.

Rethink how your company communicates: When managers have important news to communicate, they should send it out in several different formats so that each employee can read or hear the news in a way that is most comfortable to them. Baby boomers may want to hear about it in person, for example, while millennials may prefer an email.

Keep employees happy: Develop flexible incentive plans that can be tailored to each generation. This way, no generational group feels left out. Happy employees are also more likely to work well together. The promise of excellent retirement benefits or above average amounts of vacation time can go a long way toward increasing employee engagement and satisfaction.

Managers should keep these recommendations in mind, and tailor them to the needs of their individual offices. Do you have other tips for managing different generations at work? Share your tips with @NECBedu on Twitter or post on Facebook or LinkedIn!

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