In this episode of the Inclusive Excellence Podcast, two Gen Xs, a Baby Boomer and a Millennial dive into today’s multigenerational workforce and discuss the challenges and opportunities it presents. Erin Sember-Chase and Toral Patel are joined by Dane Cruz and Ari Mack, colleagues in Organizational Development and Effectiveness at Cornell, for a conversation about the importance of challenging assumptions and exploring the intersectionality of generations.
For the first time in history, five generations are represented in the workplace. While this may appear to threaten the cohesion of working teams, Cruz and Mack highlight the benefits of this situation.
“Research tells us that diverse teams are more successful,” Cruz said. “And so, generational differences are a part of diversity. The more diverse a team is, the more successful we can become because of the different perspectives and experiences that are brought to the table. It's how we react and engage with each other that makes us successful or not.”
Cruz and Mack developed and facilitated a training that aimed to help individuals navigate the five generations in the workforce and gain a better understanding of the perspectives of colleagues. The training also focused on how to improve communication and collaboration by allowing individuals to explore their preconceived notions of different generations.
“In the DEI space, it can be fun to dig into the stereotypes that exist around generations,” Mack said. “It can be more approachable to practice engaging with and navigating bias or stereotypes. It’s one identity where it feels a little more welcoming to make some missteps or mistakes and learn.”
The pair share how it comes down to learning and listening to colleagues in order to effectively collaborate and create an environment where everyone feels as though they belong.
“No one generation can solve the problem by themselves,” Cruz said. “It's going to take all of us to figure it out. It's a complex time that we're living in for everybody. We may experience it differently, but it doesn't mean it's easier for one generation over another. It's about understanding our similarities and starting there to move forward.”
Tune in to hear how Cruz and Mack suggest how the five generations can work side-by-side in today’s world of work in Episode 73: From Boom to Zoom: Navigating the Five Generations in the Workforce.
Visit https://diversity.cornell.edu/iepodcast to access the episode and transcript.
About the Inclusive Excellence Podcast
Join Erin Sember-Chase and Toral Patel from the Department of Inclusion and Belonging for a bi-weekly podcast series where they explore various topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at work. During each episode's interview, they provide a platform for campus colleagues in various roles to share their lived experiences, thoughts and ideas around how to create cultures of belonging, especially in the workplace. You can listen to this podcast on your phone, at your desk, on your way to work, while you are taking a break, even while you get ready for bed!
Do you have a topic you would like us to discuss on the podcast? Have someone we should highlight for their awesome work around campus? Feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.