At IncentViz, we believe in drawing from the unique strengths and perspectives of multiple generations. Incorporating the values, experience, and expertise of various age groups is an important component of ensuring that we bring as much as we can to the table. Many of our clients share this company value by cultivating the same type of diversity within their organizations.

Terri Klass Consulting (TKC) published an insightful article on leading multi-generational teams that caught our eye. This interesting piece inspired us to post our own top 5 list of successful tactics, drawing upon some of the article’s key themes:

1. Encourage Relationship Building

Whether through a one-on-one mentorship program or wider company events, facilitate opportunities for employees to get to know each other on a personal level. This is especially important between managers and the team members they are responsible for motivating. Fostering relationships between individuals will help break down stereotypes and broad misconceptions. According to Seb O’Connell, managing director at Cielo, “In a multi-generational workforce, there is potential for negative stereotyping. Older workers may perceive millennials as entitled, tech-obsessed or too eager to challenge norms while millennial employees could see previous generations as being ‘stuck in their ways’ and difficult to train.” It’s important for organizations to take steps to ensure leaders overcome unconscious biases

2. Collaborate on Goal-setting

TKC emphasizes the importance of partnering and dreaming together. This principle applies to company-wide goals as well as smaller-scale strategies and team KPIs. When setting goals, ask for input across generations. Pay special attention to unique possibilities that fall outside the realm of the status quo. Once you establish these goals, communicate them clearly so that everyone is on the same page.

3. Customize your Management Style

New graduates may have significantly different objectives and needs than older employees. While clear, real-time feedback is important for any age group, the most valuable type of mentorship may vary greatly by age group. Younger employees may need more guidance on discovering their passions and establishing a long-term career trajectory. Older employees may want coaching that is more related to checking that they are on track to achieving existing goals.

4. Discover Unique Skill Sets

Just as different personalities and backgrounds can correlate with unique skill sets, so can age. Identifying strengths is the first step to growing an individual’s gift. According to TKC, “Each generation may have varying strengths and talents, but in order for a team to be high performing, it is critical to leverage those gifts. Studies show that developing an individual’s strengths is way more impactful than spending too much time on their weaknesses.” Your company may see value from administering skill tests so that managers can better understand what existing strengths can be further cultivated, how to best motivate employees, and, to a lesser extent, how to mitigate weaknesses.

5. Embrace Differences

Certain stereotypes, such as the millennial’s intimacy with technology, certainly are not true across the board. Not every 20-something sees the iPhone as their second skin. But in the cases where these broader differences do prevail, try to use them to your corporate advantage. Older generations may not see the appeal of being constantly connected to technology, but they may appreciate the efficiencies and economies of scale that the right technology can bring. Conversely, younger employees could underestimate the importance of interpersonal contact and the valuable learning opportunities that come from physically stopping by someone’s office rather than communicating via email. By creating opportunities for interaction, groups can learn from each other and become stronger together.

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At IncentViz, we help managers lead their teams through optimizing incentives for individuals’ strengths and goals. Ready to learn more? We’re happy to set up a demo and discuss how IncentViz could work for you.