Collaboration across generations is essential for success in the workplace. At age 54, Matt Bijarchi is chief content officer and founder of the LA creative agency and production company Blend, where he brings a wealth of experience from over 25 years in the industry. Like many of his Gen X counterparts, however, he has encountered unique challenges when working alongside younger colleagues from the millennial and Gen Z generations.
Navigating the Multigenerational Workforce
One of the most common scenarios you are likely to encounter at almost any place of work is a multigenerational workforce. With professionals from diverse age groups such as Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z collaborating under one roof, ensuring efficient communication and cooperation is crucial. In this article, we explore the dynamics of working in a multigenerational environment, focusing on how older colleagues can work more efficiently with their younger peers.
Understanding the Generational Divide
Before delving into strategies for improving efficiency among different generations, let’s understand the factors that contribute to the generational divide.
Each generation has been shaped by unique life experiences, cultural influences, and technological advancements, leading to distinct work styles and preferences. One of the most prominent challenges professionals like Matt faces when collaborating with younger peers is bridging the generational gap. As millennials and Gen Z professionals enter the workforce with distinct values, work styles, and technological prowess, it can sometimes create a clash of perspectives and approaches.
Matt acknowledges that while younger colleagues may prioritize efficiency above all else, this mindset can sometimes be frustrating for those who grew up in a different era. It is not uncommon for older professionals to hear statements like, “But it would save time if we did it differently”. Even so, Matt emphasizes the importance of adapting to the changing times and welcoming the fresh ideas that younger colleagues bring.
Matt advises his peers to welcome change and recognize that the younger generation was raised in a different environment shaped by technology and digital evolution. While adapting to new methods and approaches may require effort, it is a necessary step in fostering collaboration within the team.
Efficiency Is Key
Efficiency is a core value for many younger professionals, and Matt suggests that older colleagues should make an effort to align with this mindset. While breaking away from traditional workflows may be challenging, adopting more efficient practices can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved. The mantra here is, “Get with the times”.
Acknowledging Different Perspectives
It is essential to recognize that prioritizing efficiency does not mean younger colleagues get a free pass or are exempt from contributing significantly to the team. Instead, they may require more transparency and autonomy in their work. Matt advises keeping them focused on what to deliver and when to deliver it while allowing them to work asynchronously when necessary.
In working with younger peers, it is important to strike a balance between providing guidance and giving them the space to excel independently. Matt suggests scheduling regular check-ins but refraining from micromanagement. He thinks it’s better to let them know they can reach out for questions or check-ins as needed. This fosters a culture of open communication and support.
Matt emphasizes that if younger colleagues struggle initially, it does not necessarily mean they are not up to the job. Most will simply need some guidance and course correction to align with team goals. Unlike previous generations, younger professionals did not grow up with the same authoritative and sometimes intimidating leadership styles. It is beneficial, therefore, to approach challenges with a supportive and constructive mindset.
Building a Paper Trail
Transparency and consistent check-ins can leave a paper trail of performance, providing valuable insights into why someone is a good fit or why they may need adjustments in their approach. Such documentation can help make informed decisions about team dynamics and individual growth.
Efficiency in the Age of Digital Natives
As the workplace evolves, embracing digital tools and fostering a culture of efficiency becomes paramount. While older colleagues may have grown up in a world without smartphones and social media, younger peers are digital natives, comfortable with the rapid pace of technological change. Here are some strategies for improving efficiency when working alongside these digital-savvy generations.
Embrace Technological Advancements
Older colleagues need to adopt technology actively. Rather than resisting change, consider it an opportunity to learn and grow. Seek training and support to become proficient with digital tools that streamline work processes and communication.
In a multigenerational workforce, mentorship can flow in both directions. Younger colleagues can offer insights into the latest tech trends, while older peers can provide guidance based on their extensive industry experience. Encourage open and respectful communication between generations.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Recognize that younger colleagues may have different approaches to problem-solving and task management. Their methods may seem unconventional but still lead to more efficient outcomes. Be open to new ideas and ways of working.
Effective communication is critical to bridging the generational gap. Make sure to outline expectations, project goals, and deadlines clearly. Ensure everyone is on the same page regarding work processes and responsibilities.
Trust younger colleagues to manage their tasks autonomously. Allow them the freedom to work in a way that suits their strengths and preferences as long as it aligns with project objectives.
Recognize and Celebrate Differences
Celebrate the diverse perspectives and skills that each generation brings to the table. Create a workplace culture that values collaboration and innovation, drawing from the unique strengths of both older and younger colleagues.
The Blend Approach: Fostering Efficient Collaboration Across Generations
Amid the generational diversity in today’s workforce, agencies like Blend have embraced a forward-thinking approach to collaboration. With a team that spans multiple age groups, Blend has successfully leveraged the unique strengths of each generation to drive efficiency and creativity in their projects.
Creating a Multigenerational Think Tank
Blend recognizes that diverse perspectives are a catalyst for innovation. It fosters a collaborative environment where different ideas are accepted by bringing together team members from various generations.
Efficient Use of Technology
Blend’s approach aligns with the idea that technology can be a unifying force. It ensures that all team members can access the latest digital tools and provide training to bridge technology gaps.
Flexible Work Models
Blend understands that different generations may have varying preferences for work styles. It offers flexible work arrangements, allowing team members to choose the most efficient and comfortable contributing methods.
Transparency and Open Communication
Blend emphasizes the importance of clear and transparent communication. It encourages open dialogue among team members, ensuring that expectations and project details are well-understood.
Bridging the Generational Divide for Success
Efficiency and collaboration are critical for achieving common goals in a multigenerational workforce. While generational differences exist, they can be transformed into strengths when harnessed effectively. Older colleagues can work harmoniously and efficiently with their younger peers by adopting technology, fostering open communication, and recognizing the value of diverse perspectives.
Navigating the generational gap is not about conforming to a single way of working but rather finding a collective path to success. As older professionals leverage their experience and adaptability, and younger ones bring innovation and fresh perspectives, organizations can thrive in the modern workplace.
Bridging the generational gap is not an option but a necessity. Matt Bijarchi and other seasoned professionals have discovered that working efficiently with younger colleagues requires adaptability, effective communication, and a willingness to adopt change. Teams can achieve greater synergy and drive success by recognizing each generation’s unique strengths and perspectives.
As Blend continues redefining modern marketing possibilities, collaboration across generations remains a cornerstone of its success. Blend continues to innovate and deliver exceptional results in the creative agency, digital marketing, and advertising space by leveraging the collective strengths of its diverse team.
Unlock Your Brand’s Potential with Blend’s Expertise
Blend is your strategic partner, ready to transform your brand’s digital presence. Whether you are a startup on a tight budget or an established corporation looking for efficient and creative marketing solutions, Blend has the expertise and innovation to meet your unique marketing needs. Do not miss out on the opportunity to unlock your brand’s potential.
At Blend, we thrive on the power of diverse perspectives and the fusion of experience with innovation. If you want to harness the power of cross-generational collaboration and take your marketing efforts to the next level, we are here to help.
Contact us today to explore how we can tailor our strategies to meet your unique marketing needs.