Rise of work culture tensions and how to overcome them

Rise of work culture tensions and how to overcome them

These days, one of the common lunch table discussions, among seniors in organizations is that the “quality of workforce being hired has gone down drastically”

Is that really true? Well, not really. The reason for such a perception is because of the new age group, called millennials, becoming an integral part of the workforce. They have a very different way of working than their seniors which leads to, what’s commonly called as “Generation Gap”‘ eventually leading to work culture tensions.

Each generation have common traits when it comes to understanding the other generation

In the current scenario, organizations have the workforces comprising of three generations, that of Baby boomers (Optimists, hardworking, loyal, not inclined to work life balance etc.), the X gens (Dedicated, Ok with delayed rewards, adherence to rules, Duty before pleasure etc.) and the Millennials. Each generation has its own set of core values which leads to difference in the way they work.
Below chart shows the demarcation based on birth year

Millennials, in general is a term given to the people who are work-ready in the year 2000+ and are born between 1980 and 2000. The reason this age group shows traits different than the previous generation is broadly attributed to

  1. Outcome based Parenting: leading to reward based psyche (quick rewards)
  2. Technology evolution and adoption: leading to multi-tasking ability and social awareness and activity, and reduces attention span
  3. Social Changes: Increased self-esteem with social equality on the rise
  4. Globalization: leading to increased exposure

Apart from these factors, millennials in India are also defined by their geography and culture. With huge diversity in geography and culture, people of the same age group exhibit different traits. It’s because one may be coming from a geography where technology adoption is yet to begin as compared to one who is born and brought up in a metro city, with technology playing a major role while they were growing up.

This generation has some common traits and core values

  • Civic-minded (want to contribute to the society)
  • Collectively optimistic
  • Multi Taskers
  • High achievers with lower rates of violent crime
  • Believes that they have the potential to be great
  • Individualistic but like groups/teams
  • Hate drudgery – too boring
  • Ambitious yet disillusioned
  • Looking for a mentor (like mom and dad) not a boss

Because of these traits, they have a different set of expectations from their jobs. Some of them are as below:-

To create and sustain organizational growth, there is no denying a fact that we need all the generations to work efficiently and collaboratively. It has become vital for the leaders to learn new ways of managing and unlearn old ways of managing the workforce. At the same time it’s also important for the new age workforce to be groomed and trained as per company’s culture, to ensure engagement and adoption of work culture

What will it take for all the generations to work well together?

The golden rule “Treat other as you would like to be treated” needs to be changed to “Treat other as they would like to be treated” in the current scenario. A localized research needs to be done at organization level to understand the traits of their workforce. New employee engagement programs need to be designed after knowing the workforce mix and then deploy them and measure them.

Many organizations have already started working on this; however there is a lot to be done yet. The mantra for this would be “Sooner the better”.

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