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Introduction

Management is a major driving force in the day-to-day operation and management of any given business. According to the What is Management Portal, “management is the art and science of getting things done through people to accomplish planned goals and objectives efficiently and effectively, with the optimum use of limited resources.” This means that for a person to be tagged as a good manager, the fellow must be in a position to combine and harness a number of related and in some cases unrelated tasks to achieve a desired result. As a matter of fact, management is nothing, if there is no result to be measured. Most often, the measured result is the level of success of an organization. Quite clearly, an organization’s success can be viewed from the rate of growth of the organization. As managers, one of the most likely encounters one is to come across and for which the manager must show surmountable control is the instance of having to handle people of different generations in the workforce. By multiple generations, reference is being made to people who are of different age and periodical grouping in the organization. The multiplicity may come in terms of a year group of studies completion, so that a group of workers who have a common educational or academic background could be classified into a common generation even if they belong to a different age group. This essay, therefore looks out for some of the most workable strategies and principles that can be adopted by managers to ensure that in their dealing with people of different generations in the workforce, they attain the needed successes envisioned.

Identifying Different Generations

One of the most important things any manager must realize is the different types of generations he or she is dealing with. In a typical working organization, research has shown that there are four major generations that may prevail and this seems to be new and strange. According to Kane (2012), “for the first time in the nation’s history, four generations are working side by side in the workplace”. These generations are the traditionalists who were supposedly born between 1927 and 1945; baby boomers who were born between 1946 and 1964; Generation X who were born between 1965 and the early 1980s and finally Generation Y born in 1980 or later. After identifying the different age or generational groups, the next most important thing to do is to identify the values and potentials that each of these different generations share. For example, there are entirely different ways that each of the groups in the four generations react or behave towards some given situations, such as communication, managing and receiving feedback, accomplishing goals, and getting ahead (O’Connell, 2011). After familiarizing oneself with all these distinctive behavioral differences, a manager is then set to strategize his or her way out into making sure that the fact there are multiple generations does not cause the failure of the organization in question. 

Strategies to Manage Multiple Generation Organization

-          Adjust Communication

Communication is an important part of organizational work. It is the mean by which messages and information get across from one source to the other. Communication in an organization comes in different forms and may be used for different purposes. One of the forms of communication in a multiple generation organization is interpersonal communication and the manager must be highly wary of it. Interpersonal communication simply refers to the kind of communication that takes place between two or more people at the work place. In the theory of corporate communication, Dessler and Nina (n.d) posit that in order to ensure that there is balanced respect for each generation, all people in their communication to others must adjust themselves to be at a level that will be accepted by the other person without offending the person’s feeling. On the part of the manager, it is also important for the him/ her to realize that people of different generations would be comfortable with different forms of communication. For example there are those who will prefer e-mails to face-to-face communication. In the words of Oder (2010), “an occasional face-to-face conversation instead of sending an e-mail to an older co-worker goes a long way in showing flexibility”. This means that the manager should be ready to adjust his or her style of communication to suit all generations, while ensuring that all forms of communication are carried out in proper decorum.

-          Customize Motivation and Incentives

Behavioral theories believe that motivation serves as a catalyst for getting from employees, what every manager desires. This means that the practice of motivating workers cannot be eliminated at the work place. However should motivation and incentives be carried out in exactly the same manner in the work place where there are multiple generations? Oder (2010) believes that the answer is negative. In his research, Oder (2010) found out that “while older employees may value monetary incentives for hard work on a project, younger employees might prefer time off from work”. There is therefore a lot for the manager to do in identifying the right form of the incentive. Generally, the manager would have to deal with monetary rewards and non-monetary rewards. Comparatively, most elderly workers do not yearn for promotions because they have outlived their years for further promotion and are only awaiting for the pension. They also have a lot of family and lifelong responsibilities to deal with. For this reason, they would want the monetary rewards as Oder (2010) asserts. However, younger workers would be more comfortable with motivations that brighten their fortunes for soaring higher on the organizational ladder. For this reason, they would appreciate motivations such as educational sponsorship, scholarships and career enhance programs.   

-          More Creative Recruitment

There is also the strategy of being very creative with recruitment. As indicated earlier, each generation has its own dynamism, values and potential. It is therefore important for the manager to identify the specific needs of the organization and come to terms on the exact demands of the organization. As a result, the way will be paved into knowing the generational group that is most needed for the organization at any point of time. After such realization, the manager must put steps in place to ensure that any recruitment that is carried out reflects the generational needs and inadequacies of the organization. It is important to note that recruitment must not be carried out as a way of shunning or doing away with a particular generation group but that it will be done with a purpose of putting the right people in place for the right kind of job. Oder (2010) observes that “It is the responsibility of all companies to help employees understand their diversity and find common ground to respect each other and work together.”

Conclusion

Organizational management is a herculean task that demands an inevitable situation of working with people from different generations. As retirement will take place gradually, the trend is likely to continue for a very long time. This means that the need for managers to continue adjusting their ways out to ensuring that they satisfy all the needs of different generations is not left out. It is recommended that as much as managers learn to handle well their staff, they also education the staff on best practices that can and will ensure cordial relationship among all people of different generations in the work place. 

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