EY Survey Explores Managing the Generational Mix

Harnessing Skills, Anticipating Challenges
Perhaps, not surprisingly, the survey also found that American professionals aren't exactly bubbling over with enthusiasm at the prospect of working in a multigenerational setting. Nearly 75 percent of managers surveyed view managing multigenerational teams as a challenge, citing different work expectations and a lack of comfort with younger employees managing older employees as the main concerns.
 
Fortunately for managers, EY officials say, the survey also delves into the strengths and weaknesses of each generation that can be leveraged to build a successful multigenerational team.
 
"As management shifts to younger generations, the research reveals areas companies can focus on to enhance skill sets, address the challenges of managing multiple generations, and retain and engage employees by understanding which workplace perks they may value most," Twaronite said. 
 
According to the survey, there are several "perceived strengths and weaknesses identified with each generation," including several associated with the newest players on the managerial scene: Gen Y.
 
"The most significant positives we uncovered about Gen Y are they are perceived to be very entrepreneurial, they scored very high on collaboration and being adaptable, and they received high marks for valuing diversity and inclusion," Twaronite said.
 
"Those are all incredibly important traits for managers. The findings mean Gen Y is able to cross borders on a team, which is a huge win for bigger and smaller organizations alike," Twaronite said. 
 
While Gen Y didn't rate as high as other generations for productivity, their high marks for being perceived as entrepreneurial indicate they possess essential skills to bring new opportunities and new clients to organizations.
 
"The fact that Gen Y is entrepreneurial means they are willing to adapt to change and try new things. They don't always need someone to tell them how to do things, and that's especially helpful for smaller firms when manpower is tight," Twaronite said.
 
On the flip side, the study reveals most challenges with Gen Y managers tend to be centered on their perceived lack of communication skills.
 
"I think to some extent it's miscommunication among generations that creates some of these challenges, along with different work experience and lack of comfort with different work styles," Twaronite said. "Because of time constraints, Gen Y has also had less opportunity for job shadowing to learn about decision making, executive presence, and how to present at board meetings." 

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