Who are The Veterans, The Boomers, Gen X and The Millennials? They could easily be the names of different music groups. But these are the names of four distinctly different generations in America. These four generations make up the newest quartet sensation known as “Today’s Workforce”.
Now that we’ve formed this quartet, the challenge is to learn to make beautiful music together.
Unlike other famous quartets such as The Beatles, Boyz II Men, The Donnas or The Rolling Stones, “Today’s Workforce” does not all represent the same culture, gender or generation. The level of diversity represented in “Today’s Workforce” can easily be cause for a few creative differences.
There are ultimately two fates for a business leader who is responsible for the success of his or her respective work force. You can either proactively take steps to ensure you leverage the diversity to optimize productivity. Or you can reactively allow your organization to let their differences serve as a distraction and minimize productivity while losing valuable talent in the process. The choice is yours.
I choose productivity and profitability. The key to getting “Today’s Workforce” to make beautiful music together is creating what I have coined as “Culturational Chemistry”.
“Culturational Chemistry” is the bond that is established among team members and colleagues of different cultures and generations that allows for a productive and harmonious work environment. This is achieved when organizations understand why it is important to create a seamlessly integrated team of diverse cultures and generations and how to do it.
We are experiencing the most culturally and generationally diverse society America has ever seen. This is also true for the workplace. Companies have to make Diversity & Inclusion a part of the culture, not just a policy or tactic that’s employed. It has to become a natural part of the corporate culture and brand personality.
Millennials are ushering in a new era of corporate culture with new expressions and new expectations. Veterans and Boomers have tried and true traditions and processes that need to be optimized. Gen X needs to bridge the gap of a transactional mindset generation and a transformational mindset generation and be the tie that binds.
The reality is, the diversity already exists, and we just need to learn to be more inclusive. Different cultures and different generations see things differently and do things differently. It is out of those differences that innovation is born. When we exclude or minimize the voice of team members across different races, cultures, generations and/or genders, we send a message that they and the voice they represent does not matter as much. That is a large reason why those culture and generation gaps exist.
There are three key areas we all need to focus on to build and sustain “Culturational Chemistry” in our organizations. We need to:
- Embrace Diversity
- Be More Inclusive
- Manage Expectations
The Culture Gap and the Generation Gap often times lead to the most common gap of all in the workplace and that’s The Expectation Gap. The Expectation Gap is born out of stereotypes, perceptions and assumptions of different cultures, genders and generations. When expectations aren’t clearly managed at the onset of the relationship, we tend to set our own expectations and/or unfairly project expectations of ourselves onto others. When our experience with that person does not meet our expectations, we fill in that gap with lowered expectations and/or perceptions based on stereotypes and pre-conceived notions.
Avoid being reactive to lack of productivity, poor moral and low retention by proactively building “Culturational Chemistry” within your workforce. It’s easier than you think.
About the Author
Tru Pettigrew is the founder of Tru Access, the nation’s fastest growing Inspiration and Empowerment resource for Multicultural Millennials and the brands looking to employ and connect with them. Pettigrew spent 20 years making it in Corporate America as a high level marketing executive at advertising and marketing agencies helping brands understand how to make money off of the millennial generation. He now help brands understand how to make money with this generation. Tru Access bridges the cultural and generational gaps that exist between corporate America and the millennial generation through Culturational Chemistry – aka blending of multicultural and generational gaps in the workplace and in life.