Making The Multi-Generational Workplace Work

This year, Millennials are projected to surpass Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest generation – by the end of 2015, the expected count is 75.3 million Millennials to 74.9 million Boomers. As the Millennials become more of a presence in the workforce, a multigenerational overlap is resulting. This gap can be challenging, if not downright annoying, to deal with.

So, what’s it like in practice, and how can both sides get the most out of this collaboration? We asked Turnkey Search’s Cheryl Levick and Daina Lecuona to talk about their experiences.

Cheryl, head of Search’s college division, is a proud Boomer. She works closely with Daina, one of Turnkey Search’s newest additions and a definite Millennial.

Both Cheryl and Daina admit to different approaches and habits when it comes to how they conduct business. Cheryl works best on paper, while Daina’s second home is Excel. Daina quickly became a master at navigating Turnkey’s CRM system and shared drive, while Cheryl classifies her technological skills as “intermediate at best.” Cheryl is a stickler for proper grammar and professional communication, while Daina is all about abbreviations, fragments and minimal punctuation.

The biggest differences come into play when the two need to solve a problem, or find an answer. In those cases, Cheryl often relies on her extensive past experience and accumulated knowledge base. Daina, on the other hand, turns first to Google.

These differences notwithstanding, Cheryl and Daina actually make a great pair. Why? They make use of each other’s skills, and are united by several key traits that they both feel are critical to their success as a team.

  • A Strong Work Ethic Trumps All. Says Cheryl, “The fact that we are both eager (and determined) to do whatever it takes to succeed is a huge key to our relationship. That shared attitude and work ethic are what makes our team work.”
  • Open Communication, Open Minds. “When we’re stuck on something, we’ll take a walk to the coffee shop and talk it out as we recharge,” says Daina. “We’re very open with each other, and both feel comfortable trying each other’s ideas (even if they end up failing) to accomplish what we need to accomplish.”
  • Embracing The Common. “Even though we’re from different generations, we’ve got so much in common,” says Cheryl. “We of course both love sports. Also, we’re addicted to our iPhones and caffeine, we’re both sarcastic, and we’re babies when it comes to cold weather. Finding those connections helped us form a bond pretty quickly.”

Both Cheryl and Daina have begun to adopt new things they’ve learned from each other. For example, Daina now reviews content he creates on paper (“It is really easy to miss minor details and flaws in something I am working on when I am staring at the computer”). Encouraged by Cheryl, he has also become more willing to adopt a trial-and-error approach. Says Daina, “It’s refreshing to know that the best way to learn is by trying various approaches (and sometimes failing) is actually ok.”

Daina is also a big admirer of Cheryl’s built-in knowledge base: “Cheryl knows everybody and has a vast amount of experience that guides her decisions. I try to learn how to think like her, but there is only so much I can do! This reality has opened my eyes to how valuable experience truly is.”

Cheryl, on the other hand, enjoys Daina’s “can do” attitude. “He always attacks every project with enthusiasm, and remains on task until the job is completed,” she says. “He is also super-fast with every software application we use – what would take me an hour to complete, Daina can whip through in 10 minutes.” As a result, Daina has become a great instructor for Cheryl when it comes to technology.

In the end, Cheryl drafts, Daina formats; Cheryl edits, Daina does the layout; Cheryl fixes all grammatical errors while Daina fixes every computer challenge. The result: a happy, productive team.



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