Closing the Generation Gap in the Workplace
“Generations Unite to Take on the Future”
By Josh Conom, Mitch Gardner, Adam Noack, Jeremy Peterman
It is not uncommon to find four generations of employees working side-by-side at the same organization. Because experiences vary from generation to generation, each group brings a slightly different perspective to the workplace. These differences can affect everything, from recruiting to motivating, building teams, using technology, dealing with change, motivating and managing employees and increasing productivity.
Closing the generation gap in the workplace is the theme of the Gen-Con conference hosted by UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education. The conference, directed by Gen X individuals from several area organizations, is designed for employers, managers, and employees of all ages. The interactive, innovative and educational event will be held at Action City in Eau Claire from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9. The cost to attend is $44 and includes refreshments, lunch, and one Action City attraction.
Gen-Con Conference will equip attendees with effective generation-specific communication tools and techniques, according to Ann Rupnow, UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education business and outreach specialist and Gen-Con conference coordinator. Kassia Dellabough, a c areer counselor from the University of Oregon, will lead discussions on how to maximize communication and innovation to establish bridges between generations. With her wide range of experiences, Dellabough brings energy, creativity, and humor to her presentations.
Rupnow hopes Gen-Con conference participants can learn how to turn differences into advantages in the workplace. “We need the creativity, ideas, and energy of the younger generations as well as the experience and knowledge of the older generation,” said Rupnow, “We need to come together to succeed.”
Tips for Bridging the Generation Gap
• Be aware of the differences. Acknowledge that everyone is different. Your colleagues' unique experiences influence their attitudes toward work.
• Appreciate the strengths. Instead of harboring frustration over differences, focus on the positive attributes your co-workers possess.
• Manage the differences effectively. Once you've acknowledged the differences and taken time to consider the strengths of your co-workers, find ways to interact with them that will be mutually beneficial.
Source: Workplace generation gap: Understand differences among colleagues, from MayoClinic.com
Josh Conom is a senior marketing student from Sun Prairie, WI; Mitch Gardner is a senior management major from Whitehall, WI; Adam Noack is a junior accounting student from Embarrass, WI; and Jeremy Peterman is a senior business administration major from Neenah, WI.