Building Bridges, Connecting Generations

Carolyn Dorsey | Coordinator | People Factor LLC

Right now, there are 5 generations simultaneously working in today’s workforce. As we go back into our offices, we’ll be working within actual physical proximity again. What a great opportunity for generations to share wisdom and perspective.

Take a look at your workforce demographics. Do you have a large age spread across your employees? How are you taking advantage of that? Covid shook up our workforces and threw them all back together again in new configurations. If your teams are still working in generationally divided silos, they’re missing out on a great resource for wisdom and knowledge sharing.

This is clearly one of those times when an employer needs to take purposeful action to get the generations to mix it up. The younger generations have a much different perspective on life and culture than their older counterparts. The seasoned veterans of the workplace have some very valuable insights to share with those just arriving in the world of full-time work. How do you get them talking and learning from one another?

Procter and Gamble started a program called the “Masters” program, that honors workers with decades of internal experience with the company to serve as sources of wisdom for others. Creating a mutual mentorship program that pairs your experienced employees with younger ones seeking to grow is a great place to start. It can be via an employee resource group, a group on Slack, on a company intranet – or, in our newly reopened office world – in person.

Another great way to connect experienced workers with younger employees is to create an onboarding “buddy system” process that pairs youthful new hires with your older, wiser, and longer-tenured employees. Giving new hires an onboarding buddy that also acts as a culture ambassador of the company is thoughtful practice for companies that want a vibrant and loyal culture. Combining that with encouraging generations to learn from each other, is just plain smart use of resources and a treasure of learning.