A company could not survive without the hard work and innovations established by its people. The performance of an organization is determined by the individual works its employees put out, determining whether they will sink or swim. Managing its people to ensure a lasting relationship is the biggest challenge. In order for companies to keep their valued employees they will need to meet their needs. The biggest challenge is that each individual needs will be different from another. We have already discussed how to bridge cultural gaps in the workplace, but today we are going to examine another issue that can split companies.

The generational gap in the workplace is increasingly becoming an issue. As one generation ages, a younger generation enters the work force. We will soon be faced with a labor gap as baby boomers continue to retire. Bridging the gap between generations will creating a stronger work force, that are loyal to you. If these differences are not managed properly is can negatively impact the effectiveness and productivity of an organization.

Ones core values are influenced by the period a person grows up in. Socially, politically and economically each generation is unique. Its unique features are what socialize individuals of that era. To be successful an employer must bridge the gap between generations, especially in regards to awareness, communication, and flexibility.

There are four general categories that classify today’s workforce; traditionalists, baby boomers, generation X, and the millennia’s. If these generations don’t understand nor is not willing to accept different working styles conflict and resentment can occur. Traditionalists value leadership and control over issues. They prefer a clear direction, and well-defined roles when completing projects. In contrast the baby boomers prefer a democratic approach to team work. They focus on team building, and creating a position and open work environment. On the opposite end of the spectrum lies generation X’s distinct work culture. They value technology and are very techno literate. Preferring to complete projects alone, they value individual achievements. They prefer to work in a less corporate environment where the hierarchy between authority and subordinates is minimal. The newest generation to enter the workforce is the millennia’s. They essentially complete the circle, as their work style is most similar to that of traditionalists. Collaboration and team work are valued to them in an occupational setting.

Although their work styles may differ what they want out of a career is very similar. The Globe and Mail discovered that the four generations value similar things in the workplace, however, they value them in different ways.
The millennial generation, workers in their 20s, are most likely to want a job that offers quick advancement, congenial co-workers and fun.
Generation X workers, in their 30s and early 40s, put the most value on balance between hours at work and their personal lives.
Baby boomers, between 45 and 60, are most likely to say they want to continue to grow and use their skills on the job and get clear information from management on what’s expected from them.
Traditionalists, over 60, are actually more concerned with advancement than boomers or generation X.

Eliminating communication errors can be accomplished by ensuring your organization has effective communication strategies in place. When communication policies are in place it will clearly lay out the communication avenues eliminating confusion. Flexibility in the individual and in the organization will create an open environment where ideas can be shared, combining the values and ideas of all members of an organization to create a cohesive working environment.