If it hasn't happened yet, it will. You will find yourself working with someone, maybe even supervising someone, who is old enough to be your grandparent. To say that millennials and boomers work differently is putting it mildly. In fact, our work habits, strengths and weaknesses are poles apart. Is it possible for the two largest groups in the workforce to work together and do it well? It is. In fact, the millennial/boomer team is formidable when it works. How can you make it work? Let's find out.
A Study in Contrasts
In a March 2016 column, The Guardian reported on an experiment it conducted. A millennial, 28-year-old Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and a 73-year-old boomer, Michele Hanson, traded lives to get a handle on what it's like on the other side. The experiment focused more on lifestyles than work, but both women discovered that though they go at life differently, they each had talents that complemented the other. For example, Rhiannon has great technological skills, Michele wonderful people skills. Put those two talents together and you have a powerful and efficient team.
The Boomer's Boon
Boomers have lots of workplace experience. Setting goals and working through to each project's end is second nature to them most of the time. They may not always be the best at technology, but they know people and they know how to get things done. Boomers are also at an age when they want to pass along what they've learned and give back, making the world a better place for generations to come.
The Millennial Way
As millennials, we don't come into the workforce knowing the ropes. We come at it with fresh ideas. When we're motivated, we have the ability to multi-task at highly efficient rates. We're focused, willing to work long hours and handle a wide range of job duties. We're also digital natives. But, here's an interesting parallel - we also want to make the world a better place for ourselves, our families to come and future generations.
Making it Work
Millennials are the largest group in the workforce now, recently outnumbering boomers, according the latest Pew Research numbers. Boomers are retiring and of those who have not, more will retire in the next five to 10 years. However, because of the Great Recession, many are working beyond the age they expected to retire. People are living longer, healthier lives now as well, and most want to remain productive members of society as long as possible. With millions of boomers still in the workplace, how can millennials make sure the office environment is favorable so both groups thrive?
Consider these seven ways to make your millennial/boomer staff a veritable powerhouse: