Same Office, Different Generation: What Younger Employees Can Teach

Published Wednesday, November 09, 2011 8:43 PM

 

Whoever said "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," obviously never conceived of a world where a generation of workers raised in the pre-Internet era would make daily use of smart phones, software, apps, etc. A more accurate maxim might be, "It's never too late to learn something new."

 

Given that new tricks are the tools of the trade in the business world, a commitment to lifelong learning is a smart career strategy. Who better to teach older employees what's new and next than the newest generation of workers?

 

Young millennials can teach older employees valuable lessons including:

 

New Technology: Younger employees are incredibly tech savvy. Older employees can keep abreast of the latest trends in technology by checking in with their knowledgeable young colleagues. Ask frequently about apps and social media; the landscape changes daily.

 

Diversity: The newer generation is more diverse in background and ethnicity resulting in a more multicultural, diverse worldview. Social norms change from generation to generation and spending time with younger colleagues will help older workers stay current not only on cultural trends but on changes in social mores.  

 

Risk Taking: Younger people are traditionally more entrepreneurial and less bound by convention. The "sky's the limit" worldview often fades with time, so recharge your "anything is possible" mojo by spending time with forward thinking millennials.

 

Flexibility: Younger workers tend to be more malleable, willing to acquire new skills and open to different paths in their career. In today's tough economy, it is crucial for older workers to adapt as easily and nimbly as their younger counterparts.

 

Cost Effective: The unhappy truth that older workers must often confront is that younger employees are often willing to work hard for less money. While it is illegal to fire someone because of their age, as companies look to save costs, they often look to buy out or retire older workers. And when a company looks to hire for a vacant role, a younger hire is generally preferred to an older one. Smart older workers will look carefully at their younger competition and continually work to make the case that a seasoned employee is a cost-effective hire, one that can contribute to the bottom line.

 

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

 

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