Encouraging a Team-Oriented Workplace in a Multi-Generational Environment

“Team Work” is a phrase commonly used in the workplace, defined as “the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective.”

The process of encouraging a team environment in your company begins with first recognizing each person’s unique characteristics. Each person on your staff differs in appearance, personality and work ethic and has distinctive triggers that motivate and induce their creativity.

To create the best team environment, company leaders and managers must get to know their employees, discover their capabilities and potential, analyze their work ethic, learn about their culture and observe their personalities.

If you know what makes your staff tick, you can easily pair them with specific tasks and co-workers to form cohesive, well-functioning teams.

Considerations

In order to create a strong team environment, you need employee buy-in. Communication with your staff will provide insight into what they want and to perform at their best. You can also take this opportunity to learn about their career aspirations.

When you begin to plan, however, you must consider trending generational differences.

Defining Generations

We live in an age of a multi-generational workforce, each having distinguishing characteristics. As baby boomers leave the workforce, you must prepare for the new incoming groups.

According to the U.S. Board of Labor Statistics, “the baby-boom cohort has aged and moved from the prime age to the older age groups, the overall labor force participation rate has declined ”.

Generational Differences and Similarities

Generation X
• There are 44 to 50 million people in the Generation X pool (born between 1965-1980).
• Gen Xers truly value work-life balance and prefer to work for companies who share that value.
• They come with an entrepreneurial spirit having spent a lot of time alone as children. In fact, 55 percent of them make up the highest percentage of startup company founders.
• This group prefers to work with minimal supervision; they value growth opportunities, like to make their own choices, and relish mentorship.
• Gen Xers also believe in competence-based promotions.
• You can motivate this group by offering flexible schedules, telecommuting, recognition, and bonuses.

Millennials – Generation Y
This text-savvy, twenty-something generation was born after 1980, and are the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce.
• Millennials expect rewards and thrive in positions with clear goals and milestones tied to relevant payoffs
• They like opportunities that provide community service, to exercise creative abilities with new inventions, and want to make their mark on the world.
• Meaningful projects inspire them to work hard
• They want the flexibility and freedom to work from home
• They believe that getting the job done is more important than being “clocked in.”
• They want trust and respect
• Unlike Boomers, they have no issue with jumping from one organization to another
• They prefer collaborative environments
• They value culture
• Millennials thrive in structured, stable work settings that provide continuous learning opportunities and immediate feedback
• Their favorite monetary reward is stock options

Gen Z
Right on the heels of Millennials, Gen Z is entering the workplace, making-up one-quarter of America’s population, a larger group than baby boomers or Millennials.
• Social rewards, mentorship, and constant feedback are their primary motivators
• They prefer to do meaningful work with responsibility
• They demand flexible schedules
• Experiential rewards and badges motivate them along with structure, clear directions, and transparency.
• 53 percent prefer face-to-face communication.

In summary: Creating a team-oriented workforce in a multi-generational environment is a successful business strategy. Although there are new generations entering the workforce, it’s important to realize the differences of each. This will not only make for happy staff but will allow you to pair the right talent for each team in your organization. Take the time up front to learn who these people are, and what makes them tick and you are well on your way to a high-functioning, well-oiled workforce.

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