The multi-generational minefield

...(and what managers can do about it).

The thing about multi-generational conflict in the workplace is… it’s not a new phenomenon. We’ve been watching this storm build across organizations for years.

Up till fairly recently, clashes of values and expectations by coworkers on either end of the age divide were resolved by younger folks adopting the norms of their elders.

Today? Not so much. The fabric of workplace cohesion is showing some pretty deep tears along generational lines, and it’s making life a misery–especially for middle managers who act as the lynchpin between their senior and junior coworkers.

Meanwhile, ageism cuts both ways-


Not-so-civil war

Our own professional journey began when Millennials were coming under fire for their demand to be mentored at work, pursuing passions beyond a traditional career, and lobbying for a work-life balance, and a greater investment in training and development.

Fast forward a decade or two, and today Gen Z are even keener to speak up about their preferred employee experience. They want the organizations they work for to align with their values, cultivate diversity, equity and inclusion, support employee mental health, establish pay transparency, and enable a work-life blend.

And they’re not afraid to head for the door if these expectations are unmet.

All of which has been hard for older coworkers–generally Gen X and Boomers, but also Silent Generation professionals–to adapt to.

The result? Workplaces today are more akin to multi-generational war rooms.

There is no magic bullet to this conflict, but there are solutions. In fact, Talent Hacks has spent the last 12 months working on one.

L&D that builds generational bridges

The way we see it, to build bridges across multi-generational lines, coworkers must be equipped to recognize and respond to the unique outlook and needs of their fellow professionals. To capitalize on their individual behavioral strengths, while gaining the ability to dial down what we call their ‘over-extensions’.

To be given tailored, innovative tools to manage their workplace interactions (whether multi-generational or not) – tools that we call H.A.C.K.s. – shortcuts that shift and optimize the way we communicate.

Interested to learn more about H.A.C.K.s.? Take a look at our HACK article.