Ways to Bridge the Workplace Generation Gap

Let’s face it, working with millennial interns can sometimes be pretty tricky if there’s a generational gap between you both.

Studies show, that generational gaps can cause conflict in the workplace, especially now that more and more millennials are joining the workforce than ever before, while a growing number of baby boomers are retiring later and later in life.

It can cause problems when you and your intern have differing attitudes towards many aspects of life and work.

BUT…when managed effectively, you can combine decades worth of wisdom with the tech-savvy skills that millennials can offer. Here’s how…

image credit: Elance- oDesk

image credit: Elance- oDesk

It’s important to realize that it’s likely that you are skilled in different areas.

Sure, sure…if you’re part of Gen X, you’re probably completely proficient at Facebook, Instagram and maybe Twitter.  But what about Periscope?  Snapchat?  Slack or Meerkat?  How about using Trello for project management?  I bet a nickel that your millennials on your team probably already know all of these and use some/all of them on a daily basis…which brings us to our first tip:

  • Practice reverse mentoring

    As well as you are teaching your interns and sharing your knowledge of the wedding industry, learned over the years being in the industry and gained at each and every event, your interns could also TEACH YOU a thing or two!  They hold the keys (and insight) into the latest and greatest social media channels and blogging, which may be an area you and your firm are lacking in.  You teach them the much-needed interpersonal, communication and management skills…and in return, I bet they can show you a thing or two about WordPress, hashtags and more.

  • Different generations learn differently

    Back in the day, baby boomers were free to ride their bike to school in the morning and expected to be home by sundown, yet millennials were raised under constant supervision. Whether it was being driven to school or being given constant mentoring and feedback when playing sports, they have always experienced what’s called “Helicopter Parenting.” This is super important to remember when mentoring interns. While other generations may be happy being given a task and expected to get on with it, millennials like to be given full support (and occasional feedback) when performing a new task to ensure they can do it to the best of their ability.

  • Expect different work styles

    Not only do they learn differently, they work differently too.  Growing up with technology, millennials have become the masters of using apps on a multitude of gadgets simultaneously in order to multi-task effectively. Other generations may see millennials on their phones, thinking that they’re slacking off or wasting time, whereas they could be making a few quick notes that they can access easily later, or searching for the telephone number of a vendor you need to contact.

    …or they could just be slacking off. But the point is, they might not be! We find the most effective people on our team are ones who use the 55-5 method, creating 5 minutes of downtime for every 55 minutes of focused work to maintain high efficiency and output of work. 

If you bare in mind the differences between the generations, it’s easier to avoid conflict and get the best out of your team.

Using structured training such as The Apprentice Program can help you mentor your interns. It was created specifically for and by millennials, offering:

  • a variety of time-saving eLearning tools

  • weekly “spark” video lessons and tutorials

  • guided discussions on relevant topics

  • weekly homework missions

  • weekly report cards, allowing you and your intern to track their progress

We are currently accepting applications for firms interested in using The Apprentice Program to help train their interns this upcoming semester.

Apply today for a chance to gain access to the 6-weeks of onboarding training, teaching them to think fast on their feet, learn the critical topics of wedding planning and how your firm operates.  If your firm is chosen, the training is simply $75/intern.


Let’s do this!

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