The struggle to connect generations in the workplace has always been a challenge. It’s especially felt now when the younger generation’s interests can span from so many different things like travel and passion-seeking to content creation and feed curation. With such a limited time period as permitted by the traffic woes alone, it becomes all the more urgent for millennials to fulfill their ambitions and even more of a struggle to get the more tenured to understand and sit in the same boat.
How then can one effectively manage a mix of ambitious millennials and Gen Z’s together with the more traditional Baby Boomers and Gen Xers?
The secret lies in building good work relationships.
The backbone of a good company is its employees. Everyone who works in the office dedicates a good chunk of their lives putting effort to traveling hours to work so they can ensure that a business’s core functions are carried out well. Keeping these same employees happy matters because they are essentially what keeps the business moving.
Cultivating and maintaining good working relationships can make these same people feel positive, and in effect, bring forth a multitude of other benefits to the workplace.
As social beings, it makes a world of a difference to actually know the people you work with as opposed to the strict we-just-work-together relationship. Research from Harvard University shows that 85% of professional success stems from having good people skills. Developing a rich relationship with others you consistently work with promotes a stronger, collaborative environment free of hesitation to discuss, negotiate, and ultimately communicate. Not only that, appreciating a colleague’s presence can be a motivating factor to come in and fulfill one’s role—that’s a win for productivity!
However, there are some inescapable challenges when it comes to improving the workplace. In the Philippines, a common threat that plagues many business environments are what is usually referred to as sipsip and sulsul.
Sipsip refers to those who constantly seek out favor from a leader or someone in a higher position in the company by ceaselessly looking for ways to outdo others in verbal praise rather than action. Sulsul on the other hand refers to a more conniving person who sticks by a leader and duly presents themselves as the best and only option in times of dire need. Both of these attitudes degrade the quality of a workplace, affecting others’ will to perform well because of such a tiring and seemingly unnecessary battle to prove one’s competence.
With good work relationships, you can avoid the struggles of toxic environments and enjoy a happy and productive shared space.
If you manage a team that consists of people across generations, here are some tips that will help you build a workplace where people are comfortable working alongside each other.
To directly combat the likeliness of employees developing toxic habits in the workplace, you can change your culture with a system that works positively. Adopt a culture of meritocracy where people are recognized for their competence and performance. Not only does this boost morale, it also gives your top performers more incentive to stay in your company and make your business thrive.
Break the age barrier between senior employees and millennials with a mentoring program. Let them teach each other about the cultures they grew up in to build a stronger bond. This could potentially be a training ground to expose the younger generation to more responsibilities and give them opportunities to think outside the box. Giving them challenging tasks is a great way to enrich their work experience, as well as build loyalty and trust without veering too much from the work environment.
There are times when an employee needs something from a different department and may not know how to approach them without coming off as being friendly only because they need something. It’s easy to misinterpret intentions after all if people aren’t sure how to interact with new employees.
Having different teams get to know each other closes the gap between awkward interactions and can make processes flow smoother. There are a ton of opportunities for this to happen. You can promote lunch as a time to mingle with others, as well as hold company activities and team building initiatives that allow people from different parts of your organization to work together.
Giving feedback doesn’t always need to be a formal sort of performance review for an employee. Feedback culture can happen easily between teammates just the same as it can be with a supervisor or lead through something as casual as going out for a cup of coffee or through a process of building a project. Initiate it with honest conversation, a consistently positive tone and receive it as constructive criticism free of malice. This promotes clear and open communication and better engagement to give everyone a sense of worth in contributing to the work.
These celebrations don’t have to be lavish portrayals of appreciation, neither do they have to be about massive achievements either. The simple act of acknowledging an employee or a team’s successes for the week can go a long way. A pat on the back, a brief email of praise, or a small token of appreciation is a great way to let an employee know that they’re going in the right direction.
People management is an important skill for business leaders. Managing relationships at work is the best starting point toward building an efficient workplace as it directly influences an employee’s mood and motivation. Making sure that your employees are happy can also boost productivity and morale.
Get a more in-depth look at strategies to manage work relationships with millennials and maximize their potential to grow your business by checking out our Managing Millennials seminar.