The workforce is changing, and with that, the workplace needs to change as well. It’s not about creating a workplace that works for Millennials and Gen Z, it’s about creating a workplace that works for everyone across all generations.
How can you create a better workplace? It starts with getting buy-in from people at all levels of the organization, from executive leadership to management to each and every employee. From there, it takes work to build and shape the workplace culture. Here’s how to get started:
One of the biggest issues in today’s multi-generational workplace is conflict. Conflict arises when people don’t understand each other. This is why gender, racial, and generational issues are still common in today’s workplace. It’s easier to see differences rather than similarities, but that doesn’t mean that the similarities aren’t there. It just takes a bit of work to find them.
Create opportunities for people to connect and get to know each other. That can come in the form of employee resource groups, after work activities, or simply putting people together in groups that are different than the ones they usually work in. The more opportunities people have to connect with a diverse group of people, the more likely it will be that they start interacting with each other and finding natural opportunities to find common ground.
Have Tough Conversations
You can’t shy away from talking about the big issues. Find out what the most pressing issues are in your workplace and talk about them. If you see discrimination, harassment, or any other inappropriate behavior, don’t stay quiet. If you’re in a leadership position, you have the power to address these issues head on. If you’re an employee or not in an authority position, bring the issue to your manager so they can deal with it. Silence will only ensure that the bad behavior continues, or worse, escalates.
One on one conversations are effective for individual issues, but to really drive progress and address things that are widespread, get everyone involved. Hold a town hall meeting to address major issues and allow ample time for people to ask questions and participate in the discussion. Open it up to be a safe space where people can feel free to speak their mind and ask questions they might otherwise feel uncomfortable asking.
Make It Truly Inclusive
An inclusive workplace doesn’t mean that you have simply checked off the boxes on your diversity hiring checklist. It means creating a space where people truly feel comfortable at work. Make sure that you’re catering to the needs of your team. Not sure what they want or need? Ask them.
Give Everyone a Voice
All employees, regardless of their position or role, should be able to contribute and share their ideas. Encourage employees to share their ideas and give them a way to do so. You can create a suggestion box and put it in the lunch room, hold ‘open house’ hours where employees can drop in and share their ideas in person, or create an email address used specifically for people to send their ideas.
Improving the workplace can only happen when companies and leaders understand what it is that they need to change. It starts at the top with senior leadership but it’s up to everyone in the workplace to continue to drive that change. It’s time start taking action, rather than just having conversations.
The views of the author of this article do not necessarily represent the views of Gradifi. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained here. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax or financial advisors to understand the tax, financial and legal consequences of any strategies mentioned in this article.