Cracking the ageism conundrum at the workplace
Tuesday November 9, 2021, By Archana Sathish
Every generation has its share of experiences that shapes attitudes and determine their traits. However, the much-discussed generation gap can be a concern at the workplace, if the older generation is pitted against younger counterparts and vice versa.
Ageism, a bias or prejudice concerning one’s age, could be against young and old ones alike. Like, the belief that younger ones take shortcuts and so they need monitoring. Or, consider the assumption that older ones are not tech-savvy and they need to be handheld.
A management strategy, which accepts the distinctive characteristics of different generations in the workplace, can help harness respective strengths to drive the organization’s growth.
What we know about generations & workplace interaction
- Every generation has a standard assumption associated with their definitive traits. In the case of Gen Z, it will often be about effortless adaptation to the digital era.
- Gen Xers, baby boomers, and people of the silent generation may be deferential to authority. They may also put more stock in loyalty to a specific company.
- A younger boss and an experienced subordinate could be a cause of trouble. In this case, the authority of the young boss may cause issues.
How to resolve?
- Foster collaborative relationships. In any project, ensure a mixed crowd. Be it brainstorming, ideation process, allowing everyone to speak up, and appreciate people whenever required. Ensure that everyone’s thoughts are voiced out. It establishes a healthy environment and connects people easily. These are the small and basic steps to bridge the gap.
- Build cross-generational mentoring programs. Reverse mentoring, a concept where the younger employees mentor their experienced counterparts, has become a popular way of establishing camaraderie between generations at the workplace. The person from Gen Z who has grown up with the internet explains to the experienced person the potential of social media to stimulate business results. The experienced employee imparts institutional knowledge to the younger worker. It leads to mutual benefits and is also said to increase retention of the younger employees.
- Strengthen motivation plans, consider the needs of the different generations, and plan regular human resources surveys to understand the concerns.
While there are exemptions to every generation, knowing the larger framework of mind can help set suitable management policies. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing multiple generations in the workplace; companies may need to adapt as their workforce changes and grows.
- Archana Sathish, a MarCom team member, deals with website management, analytics and operations for bringing Avtar's vision into light.