In Part 2 of this series, we showcased two options for cultivating a generationally-inclusive and healthy organization. Through our Baby Boomer and Millennial characters Frank and Melissa, we highlighted the pitfalls of a laissez-faire, “organic” approach to managing intergenerational challenges.

Now, in the third and final post in this series, we lay out how leaders can manage those challenges effectively. 

Preparing for today, tomorrow, and beyond

Source: Kays Harbour

So, how do you do it? Below are four key steps to help get you there:

1. Get to (really) know your organization

What is the breakdown of Millennials vs. Baby Boomers vs. Generation X’ers? How have these percentages shifted over the years and how are they projected to shift in the coming years? How do people work together? What working styles define team interactions? What’s working well and what isn’t?

In other words, conduct a comprehensive current state assessment. Be it through surveys, focus groups, one-to-one interviews, observational interviews, or any other number of feedback channels, this data absolutely imperative

2. Develop and align on a vision statement

Collect, synthesize and make sense of the outputs from the activities above. The data you receive – both quantitative and qualitative – will inform your future state. Regardless of your company size, industry, capability, or any other variable, your vision statement must be clear, concise, and inspire all parties involved. Do not let it fall by the wayside. These few short sentences must be maintained throughout the entire process.

3. Implement workshops, trainings, and councils…

…or any other channel/activity that suits your organization. Don’t, by any means, constrain yourself when thinking of ways to engage your Millennial and Baby Boomer employees.

Maybe you conduct a speaker series, or put together a monthly newsletter. Whatever it may be, you want to encourage education, open conversation, and greater collaboration. These activities exemplify the proactive approach we discussed in our previous blog.

4. Identify, track, measure, and improve upon KPIs

You’ve collected data, created a vision statement, and implemented a variety of activities to engage your multi-generational workforce. While all of this is fantastic, it doesn’t conclude there.

Have you identified KPIs to measure the success and sentiment of your programs? Have you fine-tuned the content, cadence, and messaging of your programs? Have you looked at the competitor landscape to learn from the successes and failures of others? Whether it’s 1 year from now or 10 years from now, modifying and improving programs will be necessary for long-term success.

Be adaptable to become successful

An organization capable of adapting and addressing evolving needs will set themselves up for success for not just Millennials, but for other generations to come.

Clearly, Millennials will not be the last “new” generation to enter the workforce and turn traditional working styles and behaviors on their heads. The generation on the heels of today’s Millennials and every subsequent generation will each bring a distinctive and unexpected set of challenges. We can’t know exactly what these challenges will be, but we can be sure that successful organizations will be nimble enough to adapt accordingly.

Source: New York Times

We are already beginning to unearth certain attributes of the post-Millennial Generation, dubbed “Gen(eration) Z” or “Baby Boomlets.”

According to Business Insider, “This is a generation that wants to create their own company — between 50 percent and 72 percent want to run their own start-up.” They spend at least three hours a day in front of a screen, are avid “vloggers,” and “they are so hooked into the digital world that some academics have nicknamed them ‘the mutants.

How will this upcoming generation interact with the Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Generation X’ers that came before them? Nobody can say for certain. You can be certain however, that by adopting and embracing the proactive approach, your organization will be equipped to navigate these inevitable changes.

This blog was co-authored by:

Emily Gonthier

Emily is a Senior Consultant based in New York City. She is experienced across industries including consumer packaged goods, retail apparel and electronics manufacturing, and specializes in product launch strategy, process design and customer experience.

Tristan Schulhof

Tristan is a Senior Consultant based out of San Francisco. He has experience in financial services, high-tech, and life sciences. He is interested in innovative strategies through the use of digital.