Gen X vs millennials: How to bridge generation gap at work


Posted at May 01 2017 07:27 PM

MANILA - There may be a wide gap between the values of millennials and the more experienced Generation X (Gen Xers), but these two generations who are now dominating the labor force can work well together, according to a transformation coach.

Cherry Pua-Africa, one of the most widely followed transformation coaches in Asia, said the key to addressing generation gap at work is acceptance that the work force is entering the new and much younger world of the millennials. 

"We have to accept that it's a millennial world. It's their world we're living in. We need to participate in their world," she told ANC on Labor Day Monday. 

Pua-Africa said millennials, who are oftentimes criticized as "self-entitled" by their seniors at work, are actually ambitious workers, thirsty for higher results in their lives.

She said Gen Xers can be a guide to this young generation of workers by understanding what makes them different from older ones, which is technology.

"Technology basically jump-started everything and changed the trajectory of how millennials do everything and anything in their lives. We need to understand how technology can be used in order to actually reach out to them," Pua-Africa said.

Patience, she said, is one thing that Gen Xers can teach millennials who were mostly born in a world of "instant gratification" as a result of technological advancements in their time.

Another thing Gen Xers can teach millennials is developing meaningful relationships with their colleagues by face-to-face interactions, said Pua-Africa, which does not happen in their mostly digitally-engaged lifestyle.

In return, millennials also have something to teach their seniors.

"There's also reverse-mentoring where they can teach us for example all about technology and social media. It's a wonderful rich interaction that we need to embrace in the workforce," she said.

Pua-Africa also explained millennials do not like to be managed, like the way it is done in traditional work structures. Instead, they like to be led, mentored and inspired -- something the more experienced Gen Xers can do.

She added that with a little bit of hard work in communicating and reaching out to the millennials, Gen Xers and the younger generation can succeed at work.