This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Tips on Managing the Generation Gap at Work

With 401(k)s and pensions in the tank, more and more people will find it necessary to work well into what once would have been their golden retirement years. As a result, small-business owners may find they are employing a larger number of graying workers.

For those business owners who find they are managing staff much older than themselves, here are nine tips to help manage wisely.

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

Older employees are often juggling complicated lives -- taking care of children and elderly parents. They, unlike Gen X'ers and Gen Y'ers, are also confronting for the first time the possibility that they may never really retire, says Keren Smedley, co-author of Age Matters: Employing, Motivating and Managing Older Employees. And now that companies are shedding jobs, these workers may fear they'll be pushed out for younger, cheaper labor.

Small business owners should be sensitive to these fears and find out what their older employees' situations are before tackling job-performance issues.

Be Respectful

Each generation has its own code of conduct, its own rules about manners. Be aware that for some older workers, being polite keeps things running smoothly. That could also mean popping your head into their office or cubicle instead of sending an email, says Casey Hawley, author of Managing the Older Employee: Overcoming the Generation Gap to Get the Most Out of Your Workplace. "Older workers miss relational things like eye contact." Building that communication network can forestall any age resentment.

Time Matters

Another area in which generations differ: time, according to consultant Hawley. "To older workers, being on time defines the quality of your work. So when a manager is not punctual, that may give them reservations. Deadlines for older workers are full of fear and dread. For younger workers, they are targets and may be changed over time."

Motivation Is Key

If you're in a job for a long time, you lose your motivation, regardless of age. Find out what will get that older employee excited about her job again, says Smedley, who is also managing director of a consulting firm that specializes in age-related issues. Are there skills they want to develop? Could mentoring be the ticket? Would a job change recharge them?

Tap Their Experience

Sure, they may not be as fast with texting as you would like, but they do have valuable work experience that should not be ignored. Take time to learn why a strategy didn't work a few years ago. Learn how they do their job before changing the process. Meanwhile, recognize that technology has changed the way business is done. Be patient.

After-Office Hours

When planning an office event, make sure it's something both older and younger staff can enjoy. For example, don't invite employees to a club, which could be off-putting to those who have long put away their dancing shoes.
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $95.18 1.64%
FB $117.43 -0.96%
GOOG $692.36 -0.84%
TSLA $232.32 -3.92%
YHOO $36.01 -1.42%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,750.91 -140.25 -0.78%
S&P 500 2,063.37 -18.06 -0.87%
NASDAQ 4,763.2240 -54.37 -1.13%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs