From Boomers to Millennials: Embrace the generational divide

By: Jamie Verdugo, Account Specialist

With people staying in the workforce longer, there is a developing trend of a multi-generational gap with baby boomers finding themselves shoulder-to-shoulder with much younger cohorts.  As one could view this as a potential roadblock for growth by perpetuating the divide, I offer these tips to embrace our differences so we can productively learn from one another.

Avoid the Generational Stereotypes:  According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, the stigma surrounding Millennials is that they are “coddled and carry a sense of entitlement.” On the flipside, Boomers are labeled as “computer illiterate micro-managers who don’t respect their young employees and their talents.” Studies have shown both of these stereotypes to be just that – “stereotypes”. Both sides need to back off from this way of thinking and learn to value each other on a person-to-person basis.

Your Attention is Priceless: Ditch the iPhone and ignore the need for urgency while talking with one another.  Many times in conversation, I find myself in competition with another person’s Facebook account, Twitter feed, or instant message.  Status updates are not as important as making lasting business connections after really getting to know each other.  Taking the time to really listen creates more opportunity to learn more about each other’s strengths and provides opportunities to take away invaluable information.

Embrace Non-familiar Ideas: Baby Boomers and their valuable years of experience explain why they are an important part of the workforce as continuity is an asset.  On the other hand, businesses are continually evolving thanks to the pervasive and instantaneous culture of digital media.  Baby Boomers as well as Gen X and Y all have something valuable to contribute so listen and take it all in.

By being open to differences in the workplace, we will be able to close the generational divide!