America: The land of opportunity, right?
Lots of us aren’t feeling it these days. But generations working together might improve the outlook.
Americans lag behind people in India, Indonesia, China, and Mexico in believing that they have access to opportunities that they want. In fact, we rank 8th out of the 22 countries polled, according to new LinkedIn research reported in Fast Company.
The research points out ways in which different generations working together experience the same barriers differently.
Financial constraints are barriers to too many of all ages. Fast Company’s Gwen Moran cites these numbers:
- Student loan debt weighs on younger workers, with 40 percent of Gen Z workers seeing their financial status as “an almost insurmountable barrier to opportunity.”
- The prospect of facing retirement on limited savings has the same impact on 42 percent of Baby Boomers.
The cross-generational solution: Empathy first. Empathy opens doors. Judgment closes them. Then, we can all speak up for and work toward systemic reforms that will renew access to opportunity and increase hope.
Skills and experience deficits are barriers to both older and younger workers, something that ageism reinforces, unfortunately:
- Younger workers struggle to get hired without experience and the interpersonal and communication skills that come with it.
- Older workers are seen as lacking tech skills and being slow to adapt to change.
The cross-generational solution: Mentoring that goes both ways. Older workers with experience can model and mentor professional soft skills. Younger coworkers and colleagues can coach more seasoned team members to become comfortable and competent adapters of rapidly changing technology and communication tools. We have so much to learn from each other, as long as we both maintain a teachable attitude, an approachable vibe, and patience. It’s a win-win.
We’ve got work to do. Let’s do it together.
Want to improve your generational teamwork? Our Cross-Generational Communication Workshops provide insights, interaction, and takeaways you can put to use in your organization or even personally. Presenters are a Millennial and a Boomer working together, and we can customize it for your specific needs. Learn more here. Contact Carol for more information or to book a workshop.