There’s a big technological and cultural divide between older and younger workers. While gaps are never a good thing, this is especially unfortunate because there’s so much both groups can learn from one another.
Older workers have years of life experience, while younger generations have different perspectives from growing up in a different time. Not to mention that older generations have in-person education and on-the-job training that younger workers could learn from, and younger workers can oftentimes teach older ones a lot about technology. Connecting older and younger workers could potentially revolutionize our workforce for the better.
Here is a sampling of what older workers can teach younger workers:
- Soft skills that help build relationships that lease to success
- Setbacks and struggles of building a career
- Loyalty that makes coworkers and team members want to invest in your development and learning
- Past career regrets, and how to not make the same mistakes
- How to handle workplace conflicts with wisdom and grace
- Use past conflicts to solve future problems and form stronger workplace relationships
- Managing corporate politics
Younger workers can teach older workers things like:
- New technology that will not only advance the professional industry but will also improve internal collaboration
- The importance of diversity
- The inevitability of change, and why that’s not a bad thing
- How to adapt to change with ease and grace
- Why they shouldn’t let go or give up on their dreams
- A collaborative mindset that can help older workers interact and brainstorm with younger generations
This is just a taste of what older and younger workers can learn from one another – there’s a lot more. Bridging the generational divide can greatly help advance a career, for both young and old.
It’s imperative to open yourself up to intergenerational contact in the workplace. This contact is always mutually beneficial, and can teach you so much about work and life outside the office. How do you create intergenerational contact at work? Check out these resources for tips:
- Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation by Dan Schawbel, a book with practical advice for dealing with intergenerational gap
- Practice Development Counsel, an organization offering multi-generational challenge solutions
- Radical Age Movement, a program with tips to help deal with ageism
- Age Smart Employer, a foundation that provides facts and resources about aging in the workplace
Yes, there are lots of generational differences. However, if we as a society and a workforce have the common goal of performing our jobs to the best of our abilities, then these differences can only help and not hurt.
How do you plan on making connections with a different generation at work? What do you hope to learn from a coworker from a different age group? Tell us in the comment section below.
Don’t forget to come back for more helpful articles.