Image representing 4 generations.While driving to work, I often listen to Talk Radio. A recent topic discussed was the impact of four generations in today’s workplace. The host asked a millennial guest if teaching social media was like teaching the alphabet to a boomer co-worker. While I thought that was sad, the response was even harder. “No, it is more like teaching a letter, a single letter.”   I thought that was a fairly good example of how generations may be challenged to relate to one another. But it also surprised me that the guest felt that way. I mean, I know I am hip and cool and up on all the latest trends and knowledge, ask my daughter…but do younger generations really feel that getting me up to speed on Twitter is like teaching a child a Letter? Probably…

So, on the other side of the fence, “I Hear” the older generations tend to think that the younger workforce is rude, not loyal, and not as concerned as they should be on proper etiquette, spelling and grammar.  Really, who puts a ;) in an email to your freaking Boss? Why in my day….

In the “Good ole days”, you mind your p’s and q’s and stay loyal to the company and you will retire with a nice pension. You may even be running the place in 20-40 years if you excel and know the right people. But today’s reality is much different. Gone are the fat 401k accounts, the pensions for many, and many of today’s workers suffered huge losses in the stock market or housing market.  Today, work is more about survival to some, or the fact that it is very common place in today’s workplace to change companies, even careers every few years. There is even the trend of “encore careers” for those desiring or requiring a mid-life change or want to make a difference. Veterans can relate to this one.

So remember- Nice Matters. From top to bottom, and bottom to top and among peers as well, play nice. The first step to working with others is being nice. My current boss references 3P’s- Polite, Persistent and Professional.  That is a good rule of thumb in most communications with others in the workplace. I encourage you to engage all generations in our communities and workplace and focus more on common interest rather than getting hung up on the small stuff….Because Nice Matters.

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Published on Jun. 17, 2013

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