Boomer Basics: Managing an Experienced Generation
Although more and more Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age every year, they still make up a significant portion of the American workforce. With workers of the Millennial generation recently being named the largest generation represented in the workplace, younger managers are supervising older employees every day. Here are some basics of managing workers in the Baby Boomer generation.
Provide Opportunities to Mentor
The Baby Boomer worker values teamwork but also desires respect from their younger counterparts. To foster this dynamic, consider creating mentoring partnerships between older and younger employees. You could casually create working groups of mixed ages, or pair up underperforming Millennial employees with Baby Boomers. Better yet? Millennials thrive on feedback and approval, so having an older worker recognize their contributions while also earning their respect as a mentor could just be a perfect storm.
Remember Professional Development
Unlike younger generations, most notably the Millennial age group, Baby Boomers are generally loyal to their workplaces and are comfortable working long hours. That isn’t to say that they want to become stagnant in their positions. Because you can rest assured that they won’t be hopping jobs every few years like their younger coworkers, take the time to work with them and see what skills they would like to develop during their time with you. Are they interested in becoming a better leader? Send them to a conference on business leadership. Does your Baby Boomer employee want to do more public speaking? Arrange for them to present at the next staff meeting. Capitalize on your employee’s loyalty to help them develop over the years into the best possible worker for your organization.
Workers in the Baby Boomer generation typically value relationships more than results; to maximize their performance, you need to take the time to get to know them. If you are managing a Boomer, schedule weekly meetings to touch base and ask about not just their work, but also their families. Invite them to a Friday happy hour or a professional networking event. And don’t forget to communicate in person as often as possible. Texting may be the route to take with Millennials, but your Boomer employees will value some face-to-face supervision.
Managing mixed generations can be a rewarding challenge. Taking the time to give each worker what he or she needs will ensure that all employees are meeting their unique potentials.