For those looking forward to a closely impending retirement, it may seem counterintuitive to continuously adapt to this new environment. However, for those who will be in the workforce for years to come, these changes will inevitably need to be faced and accommodated in order to thrive in the workplace.
These changes aren't easy for everyone. While older generations may feel that workplace challenges stem from disrespect and lack of understanding, the recklessness of younger professionals, or the shoving aside of tradition, Millennial professionals may feel their creativity stifled by those who wish to stick to traditional workplace practices.
Wisdom & Knowledge vs. New Ideas
While it is true that age and experience bring wisdom, many multigenerational workplaces experience issues that stem from the belief that age equates to always knowing what works best.
In order to harness this wisdom in a more positive way, Millennials must earn the trust of their colleagues by acknowledging and considering these ideas and practices and presenting their thoughts in a constructive and patient manner. More seasoned professionals can benefit by listening to new ideas and trying not to lean on the adage "we've always done it this way."
Many professionals of generations previous to Millennials have established a routine, or regular methods for conducting business. Because this routine is firmly set, some are unwilling to change their methods even slightly. While there is nothing inherently wrong with having a routine, these professionals should take advantage of the need to be flexible. This may include allowing Millennial employees to have an altered work schedule in order to accommodate work/life balance.
Similarly, Millennials and younger professionals should acknowledge the value these professionals place on a routine and avoid interrupting these methods for the sake of shaking things up.
For those who have been in the workplace for more than a few decades, it might be troubling to work with larger younger generations, particularly if these individuals become superiors.
However, Baby Boomers can benefit from recognizing that such hierarchies are not an insult to one’s intelligence or capability. Rather, the transitioning workplace is an inevitable consequence of retirement and growth. Both parties should establish and maintain a relationship of respect, in which both professionals are open to the other's abilities and ideas. Such basic respect leads to greater levels of trust and improves the bottom line.
While adapting to a new environment surely presents many obstacles, professionals who have been around longer than Millennials have the ability to overcome such roadblocks by maintaining a positive attitude and flexible mindset.
By earning the trust of their colleagues, Millennial employees can establish a healthy working relationship, one in which diverse backgrounds and experiences bring a wealth of knowledge, ideas, and innovations.
Learn More: Understanding the Top 4 Stereotypes about Millennials