Bridge Your Workplace Generation Gap

How well are you doing at bridging the generation gap inside your organization? No, I’m not talking about Gen X and Gen Y. I’m talking about your Legacy group and your Accelerate group. You may not be familiar with the terms, but after I explain you’ll know exactly who I’m talking about.

Legacy Group

Your Legacy team members are those who’ve been with you since the “early days.” They know your culture because they helped create it. They bring stability, dependability, and a wealth of knowledge on how you do business and who you do it with. They are committed, and you depend heavily on them.

Accelerate Group

Your Accelerators are your teammates who’ve recently joined your organization as you’ve grown. What they lack in tenure they bring in fresh energy, new ideas, and an excitement about the future of the organization, so naturally they’re focused on the future rather than the past.

Good leaders see the value in both groups, and they also understand how to overcome some of the common challenges each group poses, such as Legacy employees’ concern over change, the company’s evolution, and a sense of entitlement that can accompany the feeling that they’ve “paid their dues.” Accelerators, on the other hand, must learn how to connect with the Legacy group and maneuver what might be a steep learning curve.

Here are a few tips on how you can bridge this generational gap between these two groups:

  1. Illustrate the value that both generations bring to the workplace. You really need both.
  2. When you go through change, communicate what will change (which will excite the Accelerators) and what will not change (which will calm the Legacy group).
  3. If you’re a Legacy employee, don’t let energetic Accelerators make you uneasy. Welcome their fresh energy and perspective, and help them channel it!
  4. If you’re an Accelerator, respect the knowledge and experiences of your Legacy teammates. Try to learn the “why” behind the “how.”
  5. Don’t overcomplicate things. Many Accelerators can ramp up on industry knowledge by Googling it.
  6. Don’t pigeonhole or assume. Long-term employees can still be energized by the idea of evolving, and not all Accelerators warm easily to change.
  7. Remember that those who help you start your business won’t always be the same people who take your organization to the next level.

That last point can be a tough one to reflect on, but it is true. Sometimes even our top performers are only with us for a season, and that is okay. When you do part ways, be thankful for what you accomplished and learned together.

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