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How to Manage Multiple Generations in the Workplace

By Michael Heller Performance Management

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Managing generations is easy once you understand that 1) stereotypes exist for a reason and 2) generations are as alike as they are different. For one, we all want feedback and second, we’re all interested in understanding specifics about our performance.

Get the most out of feedback conversations with this quick hit primer for managing generations. Need even more assistance? Grab the guides and templates based on iRevü research and product design for each generation. When you’re ready to truly dive deep, grab your free trial to give feedback effortlessly, no matter what performance management system you use!

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How do I Manage Generation Y in the Workplace?

  1. Give frequent, balanced feedback.
  2. Set clear guidelines for how to solve the issue.
  3. Ensure you are praising and correcting.
  4. Make sure your feedback is crystal clear and not vague.
  5. Involve the employee in your solution.

Millennials Feedback Check

Hit all the feedback high notes with this final check:

Millennials can be sensitive and need a great deal of feedback, but they are also a great source of positivity and innovation. When delivered properly, feedback can not only help correct poor performance but it can make good performance more frequent. Millennials have grown up with higher expectations of praise and feedback. But that doesn’t mean you have to be unrealistic. Have You….

  • Delivered balanced feedback (emphasizing good behaviors and laying out the consequences for poor performance)?
  • Described the issues specifically? Millennials dislike vague feedback so outline the issue with specifics.
  • Involved the employee in the solution? Gen Y seeks to align themselves with their workplaces, and report higher satisfaction levels when they feel involved.
  • Established a follow up expectation? Millennials are accustomed to knowing what should happen next. Use this to your advantage in creating a follow up plan for their performance.

Download the Free Millennial Performance Feedback Guide

How do I Manage Generation X in the Workplace?

  1. Make sure you include details in your feedback.
  2. Create room for optimism during the review.
  3. Give Gen X authority if needed to fix the issue.
  4. Respect protocol and normal methods in resolving the issue.
  5. Follow up with potential teaching or mentoring opportunities.

Gen X Feedback Check

Hit all the feedback high notes with this final check:

Generation X is self-reliant, cynical, desires leadership and is working hard to gain the work-life balance they seek. Performance conversations are a great time to offer new positions, check-in regarding current and future responsibilities or authority and to plan a follow up meeting (since Gen X respects hierarchy more than other generations). Before they walk out the door, make sure they heard the performance talk and not just flowery or effusive praise. Have You….

  • Been specific about what they did correctly? And incorrectly? Gen X needs specificity in all areas of feedback, so don’t skimp on the details.
  • Built a guard against cynicism during the review? Gen X can be a little cynical, allowing them to head down this path can derail what could be positive performance conversations.
  • Granted authority if warranted? Gen X is at the place in their careers where they both want, and likely, have earned, authority. If you can give it, it will increase their loyalty to your company.
  • Implemented a formal process to follow up? This sandwich generation likes formal processes a lot more than they let on, so set dates, create a plan and build on it at every subsequent review.
  • Given them a path to gain more leadership in their role? If you want to impact Generation X, ensure you give them a path to leadership. They have more to learn and much to teach. Give the opportunities to do both.

Download the Free Gen X Performance Feedback Guide

How do I Manage Boomers in the Workplace?

  1. Ensure your expectations are in line with their skills.
  2. Show appreciation for their contributions.
  3. Share feedback with other workers, employees.
  4. Nip any disrespect in the bud.
  5. Note if any rewards or recognition have been given. (hint: they should have been!)

Boomer Feedback Check

Hit all the feedback high notes with this final check:

The Boomer Generation needs to feel valued for their workplace contributions AND tenure. It’s their feeling that employees should pay their dues (because in many cases, they had to). Rather than fight this leaning, make sure you support it by appreciating their time in the workforce. If you’re facing significant feedback issues, try putting an employee on the generational cusp (those who straddle more than one generational mold) in the mix to ease tension and build a communication bridge. Have you…

  • Discussed expectations of other generations? While Boomers have no issue with their own performance being critiqued, they DO want to know what is expected of other generations before moving forward.
  • Showed appreciation for their time with your company? Tenure matters to this generation, so don’t gloss over their time with the company. If a golden watch or an employee appreciation plaque is warranted, it’s a small price to pay for a lifetime (or decades) of service.
  • Ensured their supervisor (if younger) has listened to their feedback? Boomers need to feel they are being heard. Many have years of experience in their field, so listening is not a bad idea.
  • Been given respect commensurate with their generation? It’s one thing to ask a Boomer to be managed by someone younger than them, it’s another to expect them to tolerate disrespect.
  • Paired your boomer employee with a “cusper” to help ease communication strains between generations? Adding in someone who understands BOTH generations (because they straddle those in between years) can help relax discussions for everyone involved.

Download the Free Boomer Performance Feedback Guide

Michael Heller

Posted By Michael Heller

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