June Blog: The Perspective
Lessons Generations can teach each other
Generations are ways that help people obtain an idea on how different age groups grew up. Each generation is most defined by a major point in history or major change in societal norms. While each generation is artificially made, they are still helpful for understanding different age groups. Each generation has a defining characteristic that taught valuable life lessons that can benefit the preceding generation and the following generation. For example, Baby Boomers can teach Generation Xer’s how to adapt to major changes in society because they lived through the Civil Rights Movement and Generation Xer’s can teach Baby Boomers how to trust kids to be on their own because they lived at the start of when both parents worked and kids were home alone, which is why Generation X is also known as the latch key generation.
Marshfield Clinic Health Systems in Eau Claire Wisconsin saw great value in employees of different generations working together. While completing customer orders, the employees of the Baby Boomer generation have more experience with different medications, while the employees of the Millennial generation have more experience with technology. Because of their collaboration, they are able to share experiences and learn how to be better employees.
The problem companies are facing is the lack of generation diversity in their teams. Before COVID, there were five generations working at the same time on average; but since COVID, a lot of employees of different generations left the workforce causing companies to have to fill the missing gaps in their teams.
Another problem companies face are incidents of ageism within the company. Ageism is when a person is discriminated because of his or her age and it can happen even when a person is unaware of the discrimination occurring. Human Resources have set up policies to handle these kinds of situations.
To prevent ageism from occurring in the workplace, the company’s leaders and the coworkers should be educated on the different generations present within the company. This way, each teammate and leader will see the value each person can bring to the team and what lessons can be shared.