Reverse mentoring can facilitate multi-generational co-existence.
Workplace diversity is always a topic much talked about — diversity in race, diversity in culture, diversity in ethnicity. However, there is one kind just as important, if not more — diversity in generation.
Understanding the workforce is an organisational imperative; understanding the likely four generations — traditionalists, baby boomers, Gen X and millennials — that exist within organisational walls at once is of greater importance.
Can a multigenerational workforce co-exist? The following do’s might just help you crack this question:
Clarify the organisational DNA
Ask yourself what you want your organisation to look like, because hybrid workforce cohesion is impossible without clear vision. What kind of culture are you trying to bring to life? What kind of values are you trying to seed? What are the fundamental tenets you would like to bring to your organisation? These are questions that require answers.
More importantly, understand that the values that work for other organisations may not necessarily work for your own. This is because there is a blend of factors, and the identification of your organisation’s DNA is the key to answering those questions.
Strong and powerful communication does not merely imply a strong force of communication within the organisational ecosystem, but a consistent and clear vision. Ensure that the workforce is attuned to that vision — one the organisation is focussed on.
This is only bolstered by a couple of simple facts, including all levels within the organisation being extremely collaborative, highly approachable, and very articulate. ‘Articulate’ here implies cooperative solutions at the workplace.
Break the barriers of the mind
While mentoring programmes are great within any organisation, reverse mentoring needs to be encouraged too. Peer-to-peer learning is fairly ineffective because of the mindset of direct competition, while the senior-to-junior form of learning is just slightly more effective.
What if we reverse the latter? Since there is no direct form of competition between a junior- and senior- level employee, learning can and should be both ways — especially with the generation gap and new knowledge that successive generations bring into play.
There are always two sides to everything, and with a multi-generational workforce, even more. To forge a delicate layer of co-existence, it is imperative to understand different views. For example, the older generation might prefer mentoring by shadowing, while the younger would prefer a method of e-learning.
Harmonising the two views and reaching a form of mutual agreement will always be the key to a multi-generational co-existence.
(The author is senior associate – insight marketer, at Mettl. He is currently developing content around psychometric assessments and has previously published a book in the fantasy genre titled ‘Tempestatem’ in 2015.)
(An HR Industry Promotional Initiative)