Do you ever find yourself wondering how to relate to people on your team? Or to your customers? Or to other colleagues? That may not be surprising when you consider that the UC Berkeley workforce spans 5 generations! We have employees from 18-80, and each age range comprises at least 10% of our workforce.
This diversity offers a richness of thought, experience, skills, ideas, and knowledge, and any smart organization will intentionally tap into that entire pool for problem-solving, innovation, productivity, and capacity building.
That diversity also comes with potential challenges – people not understanding each other, seeing the world differently, needing different things, etc.
There are articles being published every day describing Millenials or Gen Z, and just as many discounting those notions as myths. We don’t need a definitive answer to the specifics; we need to know what’s important about all this.
Each generation wants to distinguish itself from previous generations, and to be admired and emulated by next generations. Each generation has unique life experience, characteristics, wants, and expectations, but similar desire for respect, fairness, flexibility, a chance to achieve, development opportunities, and satisfying work.
To effectively work with everyone you come in contact with:
- Listen to their points of view
- Resist the tendency to stereotype or generalize
- Practice generational inclusivity
- Discuss differences
- Address disrespectful behavior
- Openly encourage everyone’s full participation
- See everyone as a contributor with unique gifts to offer
Let’s celebrate the wondrous diversity of our whole UC Berkeley community, no matter how young or old they are!
What’s worked for you in dealing with multiple generations? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below…