In our market report Understanding the 50+ Worker, we highlighted some of the conversations from our Los Angeles Meetup, where we talked with Millenials and Boomers about their experience with mentoring. There’s a real need for knowledge share and a real opportunity for learning, for both younger and older workers.
“We don’t know where to look for mentors,” said one younger participant. “Our generation realizes that our network is still very small and the people that we do know are not the people that are going to get us to the places that will bring us to better careers. We’re all kind of stuck.”
Next Play, Inc. CEO Charu Sharma is helping to match mentors and mentees with the app Ellen.ai. “We fundamentally believe that mentoring employees will become the way to engage them,” she told us. “Companies are losing 30 billion dollars a year on employee churn. And the number one reason employees are leaving is because they don’t get career support, and they aren’t growing.”
In some workplaces, successful knowledge sharing needs to start with the basics: the company’s expectations of how different generations should treat each other. Donna Fuscaldo offers some ideas for putting that into practice:
- Reverse mentoring puts the more junior employee in the role of advisor, coaching more senior employees on the latest technology or social platform. The older employee still has the opportunity to share their experiences in a more casual way. “Creating a two-way street between the generations can lead to greater collaboration,” writes Fuscaldo.
- Create more diverse multi-generational teams where possible, to get everyone’s perspective. Rearranging work stations and setting up other opportunities to interact helps break down the divide.
- Require empathy from bosses needs to be a top-down initiative. It involves compromising on communication (texting vs. phone calls, for example), and work/life balance requests for employees who want more flexibility for when and where they complete their work.
Read the full article: How To Get Boomers & Millennials Working Together
As roles shift in the workplace, Boomer workers as well as their GenX and Millenial counterparts benefit from effective knowledge sharing. Author and Talent Risk expert Steve Trautman writes:
Structured knowledge transfer (KT) is the very best way to safeguard and share critical technical expertise, especially in diverse and dynamic work environments like the one we’re in right now.”
Trautman shares tips for keeping the lines of communication open between generations of employees. The same rules apply whether it’s an older worker mentoring a younger one, or a younger worker training an older colleague in the latest techniques and practices.
- Focus on the big picture. Everyone on the team should understand their mission, know who their customers are and be clear on how to measure success.
- Formalize the knowledge transfer process so ingrained bad habits from veteran employees aren’t passed on to the next generation. Set clear expectations and timelines around the transfer of knowledge.
- Finally, test the transfer to make sure the mentor has truly handed off the work, and check in with the mentee to make sure they know all the things they need to know in order to function independently.
Read the full article: Millennials vs. Boomers: 5 ways to end bickering and ensure knowledge transfer
GenX managers bring a unique set of skills to the table that help to bridge the gap between their older and younger counterparts in the workplace. GenX were among the first of the “latch-key kids”, coming home to an empty house while they’re parents were at work. Writing in Fast Company, Gwen Moran notes that this made them independent and self-motivated when it came to homework then, and makes them autonomous and entrepreneurial managers now.
They’re managing others like they would like to be managed—get the work done, avoid the distractions, and go home…. At the same time, they do place a high value on mentoring and helping others develop…. They understand the boomer mentality and often excel in management and leadership roles because of their remarkable communication skills.”
Baby Boomers’ inclination to put off retirement has made it difficult for some GenXers to advance into management roles.
This has made them somewhat cynical about leadership, but also more eager to seek development opportunities outside the workplace.”
Smart company leaders will recognize this as an opportunity to encourage these self-motivated workers to channel some of that energy into mentoring their fellow coworkers– both younger and older.
Read the full article: Why You Need To Pay Attention To Gen X Leaders
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