Senior adults are often considered too expensive, too expert, less motivated, and less agile. The youngest are attracted by innovation, quality of life, teleworking, and the desire to build meaningful careers.
Today, nearly five generations work side by side within companies. Each generation is built on different foundations. At a time when careers are getting longer, companies must tackle the challenge of reconciling their needs with individual expectations.
Organizations must fight stereotypes and value experience and all types of energy while remaining in tune with the signs of the times. By relying on a strong managerial culture, they must promote synergies between generations.
The average age is not enough to accurately determine the number of generations in an organization. There are many differences between organizations, but they very often show age biases.
“Seniors are too expensive.” "I don't see myself managing someone of my parents' age." “What do they understand about digital?" Or on the contrary, “I don’t have time to train a junior.” “This generation Y does not know how to work and spends its time on smartphones.” These are the main stereotypes that convey a biased view of the entire generation and don’t consider that each person is an individual.
This also hides a strong difference in the perception of “generational milestones” depending on the businesses or sectors: at 40, the same person may be considered an “experienced” manager in one company, or a “senior person” in another!
Whether voluntary or imposed, the absence of generational diversity creates a harmful imbalance, for both companies and society.
Each generation has strengths to share. Thus, the most experienced people can transmit their knowledge acquired through experience, whereas the youngest bring a vision and new tools.
It is up to the company to take advantage of this opportunity and encourage the development of mixed teams. In occupations where there’s a hiring shortage, hiring unemployed people or people from another industry and retraining them is great for both companies and people looking for jobs – a win-win for everyone.
Beyond continuous training, the intergenerational dynamic is a particularly effective way to develop the skills, adaptability, and employability of each employee.
The company has a real role to play in the transition and collaboration between generations. Companies have nothing to gain by opposing or comparing generations at the risk of developing rivalries and unfounded discrimination. Performance is built above all on collective work and sharing knowledge.