3 tips to successfully working with diverse age groups

Building TrustNot long ago, I spoke at a free Lunch and Learn session on Age Group Diversity in the Workplace. I was told to expect 10-12 attendees turned into 18 registered but expect 25, and then on the day 40 people were in the room.

My contact at the School of Business asked me to speak from my expertise as a career marketing professional who has helped 1000s of people around the globe find new careers and success in their job searches.

Since my contact knew I regularly work with people from 20 something to 60 something, she felt that my insights could be helpful to the audience.

Audience questions about Workplace Age Diversity:

  • What do you find the biggest frustrations that young people have in the workplace when working with older people?
  • What do you find the biggest frustrations that older people have in the workplace when working with young people?
  • How do you suggest a way to address someone who has a pattern of not returning emails or phone calls?
  • How would you coach employees on time management – older generation may be more thoughtful and slow where as younger generation may be fast and not detail-oriented?
  • How do you work with Generation X and Y employees who always have to be praised?
  • What issues do you see in the workplace that are caused by age issues?

Julie’s Answers

In future posts, I will go into more detail (as I did at the luncheon) on the questions but here are 3 Tips to get you started. 3 solid solutions that will work to resolve age-related conflicts in the workplace – but warning, they are based on common sense something I believe is often lacking!

  1. Communicate! One of the most common problems I see in the workplace is that older workers whine about the younger ones and younger workers complain about the older ones. But they complain to their own group and never address it with the person. When you correctly communicate with the person (and that means no accusing or yelling) but sincere communication designed to talk about the problem, you reach solutions. People who try to blame the other party and skip communicating will always have the problem.
  2. Don’t stereotype!  When you abide by some study you read that Gen X and Y do this or that or Older people do this or that, you are typecasting. I firmly believe that there are differences in people but if you slam a label on a whole generation, you are missing the value they offer.
  3. Use easy solutions! Time management for example can be solved by either technology or paper. You just have to use it. I use Google calendar and task reminders on both my PC and my smart phone but I am never without my paper Daytimer and my set of colored pens. I’m 56 and as techy as most 25 year olds but I use multiple strategies of technology and non-technology because they work for me. Not rocket science to find the easier solution that works for you.

Look for more posts about some of the questions above and if you have an age-related question, share it in the comments and I will work on writing an answer.

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  1. Kellie M. Mercie on June 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Absolutely full of information! This site is what I am looking for. Thanks for this idea.

    • Julie Walraven on June 13, 2012 at 5:41 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Kellie!

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