09 Jun Managing the 5G workplace

There are often five generations working side-by-side in any workplace today.

That means you could have school leavers working with colleagues of their parents’, grandparents’ or even great-grandparents’ generation.

While each person is an individual, not a stereotype, each generation is generally regarded as having a collective outlook with distinctive attitudes, as mapped in this infographic (below)

Gaining an insight into those generational differences is valuable when it comes to managing your 5G workforce so it’s worth checking out a recent study which asked CFOs where they see the greatest differences from different generations.

The top three areas of difference identified by the CFOs were as follows:

Communication style: 30%

Adapting to change: 26%

Technical skills: 23%

An understanding of differing preferences will enable you to communicate more effectively. Gen X prefers email to phone calls but Gen Y and Z (AKA Millennials) favour texts, tweets and instant messaging, for instance, so it makes sense not to use your preferred method of communications, but rather use theirs.

Recognising the differences is also invaluable when it comes to the introduction of new technology which requires new behaviours from your staff.

The older Baby Boomers are likely to have seen lots of changes during their careers and may be more cynical while the Millennials, the study showed, tend to see change as an opportunity. The younger Gen Z sees change as normal.

The differences regarding generational technical skills were as you might expect, but also have implications for training when new tech is being deployed.

The study indicated that while Baby Boomers and Gen X favoured learning via traditional instructor-led courses or self-learning tools, Millennials preferred collaborative and technology-centric methods.

The 5G workplace is today’s new normal. One-size-fits-all management simply isn’t effective anymore (assuming it ever was) so is makes sense to take the time to understand the mix of attitudes, expectations and outlooks that make up your staff and how best to play to their strengths.


Generational Differences Infographic by Knoll