Micah Tyler’s song “Gotta Love Millennials” offers a humorous view of the newest generation to assume the lead in the workforce and society. As twenty-something individuals with “man-bun” hairstyles and Instagram feeds drive the direction of business, what happens to members of older generations? Specifically, as Baby Boomers approach retirement age (and some have reached it already), what role can they play in today’s Silicon Valley companies? Business leaders are currently working to overcome unconscious bias in hiring and to increase workforce diversity. In this space, older workers represent an underutilized resource and one which offers great potential to growing organizations.
Baby Boomers are Reliable and Self-Aware
Generally speaking, older workers are extremely reliable and dependable. They have stabilized their life structures and do not experience the distractions of roommates, young children, and the “party hard” lifestyle of the young that leads to the occasional hangover and loss of productivity. Furthermore, a lifetime of failures and successes has given them a depth of self-knowledge regarding their strengths, weaknesses and unique gifts. Baby Boomers know who they are and what they have to contribute to a company or team.
Baby Boomers are Wise and Make Great Mentors
In addition to a level of self-awareness, Baby Boomers have the benefit of decades of professional and life experience. They are likely to have lived through layoffs, reorganizations, and industry transformations multiple times, with firsthand knowledge of what worked and what didn’t in past situations. This wisdom informs not only the decisions they make regarding their own work, but creates a valuable opportunity to mentor and guide younger colleagues in leadership roles. Leveraging the experience of older workers can help a growing company disrupt its industry without having to reinvent the wheel in every step of the process.
Bridging the Gap Between Baby Boomers and Millennials
Simply put, Millennials and Baby Boomers tend to communicate in vastly different ways. Many older workers prefer face-to-face conversations and phone calls, whereas younger employees respond more quickly to instant messaging and texts. When leading a team that includes members of both generations, it is extremely helpful to acknowledge this difference and to set baseline expectations for communication. For example, your team may choose to set a rule that all text messages will responded to within two hours, all voicemails will be returned within one business day, and complex and/or sensitive discussions will always be conducted live or via videoconference. Simple distinctions and parameters will integrate a diverse team and optimize alignment.
Menlo Partners Staffing is Your Resource to Build Diverse Teams
For a discussion of the unique challenges facing your team and how recruiting assistance can help you grow effectively, contact the expert staffing specialists at Menlo Partners Staffing today. We will be happy to help you attract highly-qualified candidates of varying backgrounds who will mesh well with your organizational culture. Menlo Partners Staffing provides recruiting and placement services to small and mid-size companies throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Thank you for reading!