The Multigenerational Workforce: 5 Ways to Narrow the Age Gap

By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted 06-30-2011

Use these five principles to navigate the sometimes rocky waters that come with managing a multigenerational workforce. For more on this topic, read CIO Insight's full report "Managing a Multigenerational Workforce."

  1. Avoid myths and stereotypes. Some older workers are savvy at using leading-edge technology, and there are younger workers who are essentially Luddites. Likewise, studies show that many younger workers are far more loyal than commonly thought. Respect differences, but don't paint individuals into a box.
  2. Communicate. It's important for a CIO and other executives to promote the benefits of a multigenerational workforce and the need to respect differing attitudes and work styles. Research shows that a positive relationship with colleagues ranks near the top for employee satisfaction.
  3. Encourage interaction and collaboration. Avoid creating age pools based on job titles or skill requirements. Instead, create diverse teams so that ideas and knowledge flow across the enterprise. Use mentoring and reverse-mentoring to create cross-generational knowledge sharing.
  4. Provide training. Offer courses or workshops in how to get the most out of technology and social media. Include everyone. Even younger workers can learn new information about technology.
  5. Remain flexible. Understand the needs of different groups and offer programs and benefits to attract and retain them. This might include flextime, job sharing and telecommuting. It also means accommodating workers and their choices in technology, whenever possible.