Picture this – a 70-year-old born in 1947 working alongside a 26-year-old born in 1991. To say those two individuals bring different tools and perspectives to the project is an understatement.
The combination of increased life expectancy and the boom of technology has created a world in which there are more generations in the workforce simultaneously than ever before. It’s an exciting time to be alive and working. Managing Pre-Baby Boomers, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials (aka Generation Y) within one company requires creativity, resourcefulness, and understanding. When it comes to planning your next corporate meeting or event, it’s imperative to take into consideration the different communication styles and expectations of each generation.
4 Strategies to Consider When Planning a Multigenerational Group Meeting
Off-site meeting events are excellent opportunities for the different generations to socialize, exchange ideas, and understand one another better. To help those planning to execute such events, we’ve compiled a few key pointers.
Become Aware of What Motivates Each Group
Those within the Baby Boomer generation might be more attached to traditions and structure than those in the Millennial group. An article in Forbes explains that Millennials are motivated by workplace flexibility, and the opportunity to travel, versus older generations who place a higher value on financial rewards. The underlying concept here is to know which generations will be part of your upcoming meeting event, research to understand each generational fully, and then cater to their motivations and values as you plan the event.
Team Building to Encourage Understanding
Over the course of the event, plan for activities that will enable the generations to mix. Execute team-building exercises that will be engaging and accessible for each of the participating generations. For example, include technology to cater towards the younger generations, but try not to make the main emphasis on technology.
Recommended activity: Generational Trivia
- Put the participants in teams with a blend of the generations in each team.
- Create trivia questions that have to do with the different generations i.e. How much did a loaf of bread cost in 1965? Or, what year was Facebook created? Create at least five questions per generation.
- Afterward, go over the answers and open up a discussion about these different time periods.
Strategically Plan Social Events For Mingling
Social cues often come from the ambiance of the event. If you are hosting a banquet, consider assigned seating where you arrange for each table to feature individuals from each generational group. Keep in mind, though, younger generations are much less interested in sitting down and being served, but rather they are more interested in choosing their own portions, walking around, socializing, etc. The underlying principle here is that you can set up different social events to encourage the generations to mix.
Leverage the Talents of Each Generation
As you plan speakers and presenters, consider the tools each generation has to offer and leverage them. Plan for one of the younger tech gurus to do a tech-related presentation – something that will greatly benefit those who did not grow up with wifi, iPhones, and Facebook. On the flip side, plan for a speaker who understands the value of planning long term, weighing consequences, and costs. All topics that will help ground the younger generations.
Planning an intergenerational meeting may have its challenges, but the rewards of a well planned and executed event are abundant. You want to return to the workplace with a team who understands one another better, communicates smoothly, and enjoys leveraging the talents of their team members. You can work towards achieving all of this over the course of an off-site corporate event.
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