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General Business
Managing People
Employment & HR

How Much Do Different Generations In The Workplace Really Have In Common?

Primed Team
2 July 2024 5 minutes

How much do different generations in the workplace really have in common? We're diving into the shared values and goals that bring employees together, regardless of age, highlighting the things that make for smooth teamwork and a solid company culture.

How Much Do Different Generations In The Workplace Really Have In Common?

Today, it’s not unusual to see up to five generations working side-by-side! But it’s the things they have in common that really matter – values like working efficiently, sharing knowledge, and wanting to grow professionally are important to everyone, no matter how old they are. Forbes points out that despite our assumptions about different generations, most employees actually want similar things out of their work lives, even if they prioritise them differently depending on where they’re at in life. It turns out that flexible working is something valued across the board, suggesting everyone wants a healthy work-life balance.

A LiveCareer study found that 89% of participants viewed generational diversity at work as a positive, with 87% believing it gives vital opportunities to learn from each other.

Similarities and benefits of a multi-generational workforce 

Better problem solving
Every generation brings unique skills, largely shaped by distinct life experiences. Regardless of age, shared aspects of life often lead to common ideas and methods, creating unity. Conversely, generational differences could introduce fresh perspectives and diverse options, leading to more robust solutions and a stronger emphasis on collaboration. Imagine a new employee, fresh from university, collaborating on a project with an employee who has 30 years of experience. The result? A solution combining the best of both, demonstrating diverse perspectives, can achieve better problem-solving outcomes.

Shared experiences
The pandemic is a great example of how professionals across generations can adapt, quickly switching to working from home. Many discovered new hobbies, and some even changed careers entirely to follow their passions. 

Shared priorities
The LiveCareer study uncovered job prestige to be the highest scoring common factor between generations. These figures show the proportion who rank job prestige as a top priority:

  • Baby Boomers – 59%
  • Millennials – 58%
  • Gen X – 64% 
  • Gen Z – 53%

Furthermore, an Oyster study ranked flexible working as the second most desired benefit, with remote working coming in third. Recognising this highlights the unity among generations, also underscoring a widespread desire for choice and control over scheduling or work-life balance.

Consistent mentoring and learning
Consider an established employee teaching a newcomer the complexities of client management. The established employee offers insights gleaned from years in the field, the newcomer brings a fresh understanding of digital communication strategies. Both learn from each other, the seasoned employee receives new perspectives on technology and the younger gains seasoned wisdom. Mutually beneficial learning creates balanced team dynamics, where each member is recognised, and specific areas of expertise are highlighted.

How to Promote Collaboration

Intergenerational partnerships
Pair employees from different generations to promote the exchange of knowledge and experience.

Team building and out of hours socials
Get everyone together outside of work to build camaraderie and uncover hidden talents and skills. These shared moments can significantly improve teamwork and create a more cohesive and dynamic group.

Challenge generalisations
An Adaptavist study showed that 81% of workers disagree with the presence of generational stereotypes. Those in charge should ensure any negative stereotyping is challenged. It’s important to encourage employees to look at things from a different perspective and appreciate their colleagues’ strengths. Opportunities to get to know your colleagues forge stronger relationships and eliminate misconceptions based on assumptions

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