With numerous generations in the workplace today, it can be challenging to manage differing expectations regarding how personal and professional lives are to be honored in your company. For example, Baby Boomers have a reputation for being work-centric and focused on professional accomplishments, while Gen X has been known for their commitment to work/life balance, and more than 70 percent of Millennials have shared they want the people they work with to function as a sort of second family.
While these varying expectations can pose a challenge to leaders who are trying to balance all of these workplace interests, the data tells us that having a supportive organizational environment fosters greater well-being in an employee’s life. As a leader, it is important to understand how you can create a supportive, caring environment while still maintaining professionalism.
In my book Work That Works, I discuss this concept in Principle #6, Let Your People Life to Work, Not Work to Live. To offer a few quick tips, I invite you to try these three activities to connect with employees across the many generations in your workplace:
1. Deliver regular feedback
In addition to discussing job-related metrics, talk to staff about their development goals. Make a commitment to provide consistent feedback, in addition to annual performance reviews. Constant feedback is of real interest to Millennials, so be mindful to provide input as part of your weekly routine. And, even though other generations may not expect feedback as frequently, it is still important to demonstrate that you are engaged in their growth through regular check-ins.
2. Share a meal
Having lunch or even a snack break with employees will help bring team members together and improve morale. It also offers an opportunity for employees across generations to get to know each other better as well as connect on an individual and professional level.
3. Engage each other in less formal ways
Even in a professional environment, not all conversations need to focus on work. Simply asking your employees how their days are going or inquiring about their weekends can go a long way in showing you care for them as people.
I invite you to apply these three opportunities as well as take time to reflect on how your team members respond. Depending on their generational differences and Emergenetics® preferences, they may gravitate towards one method or the other, and you can adjust your behavior accordingly.
Ultimately, employees want to be valued for who they are – and that involves so much more than their job skills. These tips will help you demonstrate your care for employees while maintaining a professional environment.
For more tips on how to apply the principles in Work That Works, purchase a copy of my book here or fill out the form below to purchase the companion card deck, which provides actionable tips to support your leadership journey.