Don’t shy away from talking about generational differences in your workplace out of fear of stereotyping or placing employees into general categories, says Sarah Gibson, an author, speaker, and generational expert.
Instead, realize that conversations about how to address those differences can result in a stronger workforce, Gibson tells the CUNA News Podcast.
“It’s a helpful tool. If I’m having a clash at work and I’ve run through the other pieces, maybe it’s generational. It can provide a framework to opening doors to communication," says Gibson, who is also the president/founder of Accent Learning and Consulting. “We want to be able to unite around generations and not have this topic divide us. We want it to bring us together so we value the differences that make our teams stronger.”
Gibson recently spoke at CUNA Management School about the differences—and similarities—between generations and how to approach them in a way that creates an effective workforce.
In the podcast, Gibson discusses several issues involving different generations in the workforce, from employees’ need for feedback, how to encourage Baby Boomers to transfer knowledge to the next generation, the need to be explicit about certain types of communication, and the rise of the next generation: Generation Z, or the "Homelanders," so named for being the first generation to have never lived without the Department of Homeland Security.
Generational differences are nothing new, Gibson says. “I’ve been talking about it for 15 years, and I kind of expected the conversation to go away. But it actually grows.”