Work culture today is different than it once was years ago. We have Gen X’ers being managed by Millennials, retirement age baby boomers intermingling with lazy, Instagram-scrolling Millennials. All who bring different values, communication styles, and work habits to one agency, yours.
Here’s how you can manage the differences between these groups and create a productive, cohesive company culture that works for everybody.
Schedule company events that are actually fun
Not many Millennials will be ready to accept their fate at a company picnic, but happy hour is definitely an option. As a small agency owner, it’s your job to bring the team together in and out of the office for joyous occasions where they can grow together.
One study done by Harvard Business School revealed the more time people socialize with their teammates away from their workstations, productivity and employee satisfaction dramatically increases. A 25,000 employee call center in the study forecasted $15 million a year in productivity increases by following this idea.
For your agency, this can be as simple as office birthdays to off-site holiday parties, or even renting out a bunch of escape rooms for the day for a fun and adventurous team building exercise.
The goal is to get the team outside their work element, offer them the chance to interact not over endless cups of coffee and meetings. It’s no surprise, but when your workforce enjoys where they work, they are more productive. And this starts when you create opportunities for them to get to know each other more as people and less as workers.
Embrace different communication styles
Every generation has their preferred way of communication. A Gen X’er on your team may prefer e-mails and phone calls, while your Gen Y is all about instant messaging and tweets. Younger generations are a whole other informal ball game. These conflicting mediums can lead to faulty communication between your team.
One way to battle this is to bring your team face-to-face for team building and icebreakers to mitigate the errors in digital communication. You don’t want to silent any groups voice because it can hinder their workflow and productivity. Imagine your company without the value and experience of older employees, or the new age perspectives from younger workers.
This doesn’t just involve employee-employee communication – supervisors have to adapt as well. Global product team leader for the Oncology Business Unit at Eli Lilly and Company, Symantha Melemed, actively speaks with each of her immediate supervisors in their preferred communication style. Although she reports distaste in phone calls, she does them to maintain a productive workflow that influences hundreds of more employees.
We want to collaborate and keep up with the times, together. It’s all about creating team balance in your agency. There’s no reason you can’t when you work with a multigenerational team.
Focus on individual values and personality
One extremely effective way to mitigate multigenerational conflict is to not group them by these categories. Rather, focus on each team member’s individual assets and unique personality. This gives management better insight on how they work and solve problems.
That “lazy millennial” may not be lazy at all, or the “tech deprived” baby boomer may have preordered the iPhone X right out the gates. Harnessing these subjective elements lets the team approach problems from different angles and develop solutions you would not have found otherwise.
Continually assess and improve team development
Pinpoint and actively fix problems to enable ongoing team development. Regardless of the size of your agency or what type of insurance you sell, negative conflicts between team members will hold you back. To combat this, plan weekly open discussions and development activities so your team can recognize where their weaknesses are and assume proper responsibility. When your team is determined to change, you will turn the negatives into positives so you can all progress as a group.
Allow individuals to work in the way that’s best for them. There will be struggles and difference, but acknowledge each team member’s efforts to get along and understand each other. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to create a company culture that embraces individual styles, inspires collaboration, and fosters productivity so you can generate revenue and improve retention rates.
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