Although generational stereotypes – Millennials are entitled or Baby Boomers have low computer skills – are more socially tolerated than other stereotypes, they are still damaging to your organization. Reinforcing these stereotypes can have serious impacts on employee engagement and productivity, as it makes collaboration across generations more difficult than it needs to be.
The key to breaking down these stereotypes or preventing them from taking hold in the first place is to support individuals and boost their strengths while encouraging them to improve in any areas of weakness.
Call it out
A lot of stereotypes are implied and go unsaid. For instance, a technical responsibility may not go to a Baby Boomer because he or she “isn’t good with computers.” While it might be true that a certain worker isn’t tech savvy, that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to learn new things.
Pointing out stereotypes is a way of reducing their power. During the training session, create a list of the ways people are stereotyped age. Then discuss each stereotype and how everyone can work together to keep that stereotype from taking hold.
Eliminate stereotypes from the hiring process
Without knowing it, many managers reinforce generational stereotypes through the hiring process. If you are making hiring decisions, hire people based on skills, potential and relevant experience, and not on generational stereotypes.
Emphasize the strengths of individuals
Raising awareness is just the first step toward breaking down stereotypes. It’s also important to leverage the individual strengths of various team members, regardless of age, with fulfillment training.
Fulfillment training highlights uniqueness and strengths to identify who is best for a particular task. This kind of training should help boost manager and worker fulfillment, which will align and motivate people of all ages.
You should also make sure there is enough opportunity for advancement and individual growth in your company. When people start to feel stagnant and frustrated, latent stereotypes have a way of rearing their ugly heads.
Promoting company culture is a very effective way to break down stereotypes. If people are all on the same page culturally, generational differences – as well as other differences – will suddenly melt away.
Ensure your company has a well-defined mission, and the strategic methods are largely disseminated. Make sure individual workers understand the importance of their job and how it contributes to the entire company. Purposeful work is essential for people of all ages, and making employees conscious of the nature and value of their attempts is a crucial way to build a strong company culture.
Look to build multi generational teams
A very effective way to break down any kind of stereotype is to get people from different background to work together toward a common goal. When putting together project teams or various committees, you should try to include an even distribution of people from various generations.
At Cornerstone, we support our client companies with all of their diversity and inclusion endeavors. If you would like to know more about how we can help your company succeed, please contact us today.