Same Office, Different Generation: What Younger Employees Should Know

Published Tuesday, November 08, 2011 8:41 PM


For young employees transitioning from dorm room to desk job, one of the biggest challenges can be interacting in a multigenerational setting. After all, during the school years, people are generally in lockstep with their age group. Workplaces, with a community of mixed ages, are a different story.


Smart millennials can take advantage of the diversity of experiences in a work setting by learning valuable lessons from older employees. Older employees can offer:


Experience: Older workers know the ropes. Smart newcomers can shorten their learning curve by both emulating older workers and tapping into their deeper reservoir of information about company policies, politics and industry information.


Perspective: Seasoned workers have a big picture perspective that younger workers lack. They have experienced cycles at work and in life and can provide a valuable road map for younger counterparts.


Interpersonal Skills: The previous generation developed interpersonal skills without the benefit of social networks and newer technologies. While almost all workers now make use of newer technologies, the previous generation also recognizes the value of face-to-face interactions and polite conventions such as thank you notes and in-person phone calls. Younger millennials would do well to acquire the same breadth of interpersonal skills.


Independence: Older workers generally were raised with an emphasis on self-reliance.  Workers in their 40s and beyond often demonstrate greater independence and require less hand-holding than a generation raised by helicopter parents to expect constant attention and feedback. Younger workers should try to emulate the independent style of older workers.


Work Ethic: Experienced workers, who have steadily and progressively risen through the ranks, generally have a strong work ethic and are conscientious employees. They understand that an excellent work product, loyalty and hard work are necessary to get ahead. Savvy millennials will take a page from this lesson: diligence and hard work are necessary to achieve success.


What is the best lesson an older employee ever taught you? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.



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