Nineteen months from now, 50% of the global workforce will be made up of Millennials (75% by 2025). This year, Baby Boomers are retiring at the rate of 14,000 per day. Per day. The knowledge and skills gulf between the two generations is enormous.
While that is daunting, what is even more daunting is the overt lack of respect that Baby Boomers often show Millennials in the workplace. They say things like — “Millennials don’t know what hard work is,” “Millennials want recognition without earning it,” “They’re snowflakes!” – while Millennials are sitting in the same room!
Instead of taking advantage of the unique contributions of a cohort that could give their organization a competitive advantage, Baby Boomers either openly berate Millennials, treat every Millennial like tech support, or ignore them altogether.
In a recent study published in the Harvard Business Review, every employee, regardless of age reported wanting their work to have meaning beyond a paycheck. At the same time, each generation reported feeling that “the other generations are only in it for the money, don’t want to work as hard, and do not care about meaning.” How can this be? Negative stereotypes.
Many Millennials believe that “Baby Boomers are stuck in their ways,” “They can’t learn new skills or keep up with the times,” and “They’re too old to be included as someone I’d like to get to know better.” Think not? This “What Age Do Millennials Think Is Old?” video is an eye opener.
Whether you’re a Baby Boomer or a Millennial, I urge you to take a moment to consider any biases you have about the other generation. How might your words and behaviors be contributing to the negative stereotyping of each other? What’s one thing that you can do today to get to know a colleague from the other generation and begin closing the generational divide and leverage this opportunity for competitive advantage?
Question: What are some ways that you might be contributing to this workplace discrimination issue?
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