Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

HOW TO BUILD A WORKPLACE ALL FIVE GENERATIONS WILL LOVE

Monica H. Kang, Founder and CEO, InnovatorsBox®
Originally published in: WE USA

I got used to being the youngest in the room until Gen Z members made their presence known with their unique style of engagement — one that is drastically different from my other colleagues. I got curious. How is this noticeable difference impacting each of the five generations who use technology differently and rely on different communication styles? Here are three key questions to help shape the office experience for all generations:

1. What can I learn from people?

Instead of assessing people based on job titles, age or school credentials, focus holistically on what their personal strengths are. We can learn something from everyone we meet; we just need to find that hidden gem. If you see something you appreciate, compliment people. Let them shine and help them see how their strengths are contributing to the work you are doing together.

2. What do people care about?

Everyone cares about something. Often, their true passion is not related to their work — and that’s OK! Recognizing that your team members are on a roll when they are coding with music is key to how you manage them. Knowing that someone who is inspired by nature has spent a long weekend hiking and will bring a burst of positive energy back to the office allows you to harness it. Get to know what people care about. Do everything you can to let them share more of themselves at work. When they feel appreciated for who they are, they will want to bring their “A” game to work.

3. What makes people feel appreciated?

I have completed the 5 Love Languages® quiz based on “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” by Dr. Gary Chapman, Gallup Inc. StrengthsFinder (now CliftonStrengths 34) assessment, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality inventory and NERIS Analytics Ltd. 16Personalities tests to understand how my team members feel appreciated and loved. Each team member is unique. Some may say using the Love Languages is too much. We may not always love our colleagues, and I understand that. However, I believe understanding this basic emotion is critical to being more respectful and making them feel valued. The key to building an inclusive workplace for all ages is to remember that we are all human. Stop treating people based on labels or stereotypes.

Think like a detective: Be curious, ask questions, listen and listen more. These actions may help you understand both where the opportunities exist and where the leadership gaps are. In the end, we all want to be understood, appreciated for what we contribute and know that we are part of a workplace where we can thrive.

About the Author

Picture of Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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