Generational Shift in the Component Industry


Generational Shift in the Component Industry

Recognize the differences between age groups and play to their strengths for successful intergenerational management.

The workplace has always had multiple generations working side by side. There are the fresh-faced newcomers, the experienced professionals who hold the established roles and the older individuals who have been in the industry for decades. Each of these distinct age groups comes with its own unique background and expectations, which can sometimes cause friction between colleagues or between staff and management.

The quirk of today’s workplace is that more generations than ever are working together. Leaders in our industry need to be able to successfully integrate new workers, while at the same time respecting the experience and seniority of older employees. Adaptation is required on both ends of the spectrum. In healthy workplaces, new employees respect experienced staff and assimilate to the existing workplace culture, while established employees implement new ideas and remain flexible.

Sometimes it’s difficult to adapt to change, but we can challenge ourselves and our employees to tackle problems together. Meeting the needs of each generation in the workforce, while keeping the company on the path of success can be challenging, but by training your managers and tailoring how you deal with each person, you can effectively balance the needs of the individuals and of your team.

Many companies can describe prospective employees who don’t quite fit the mold of those hired five or ten years ago, and some leaders react negatively to both the stereotypes and realities of younger generations. For example, when a member of Generation Z comes in for an interview, he might not always make eye contact in the way managers in the Traditional or Baby Boom generations expect. Younger employees might need more training on daily, real-world work situations than older employees anticipate.

Generational expectations are inconsequential, though, when the priority is to attract and retain an employee. For managers, treating employees from all generations the same way can lead to problems. A fresh perspective, and some of the tips that follow, can help you direct work across generational lines.

Every generation brings to component plants and lumber yards its own set of challenges due to different skills and cultural norms. A successful operation is a melting pot of different generations, personalities and skills, all working together toward the success of the company. Check out these additional tips on how to manage the various generations.

Ben Hershey is a past president of SBCA with more than twenty years of experience in the component manufacturing industry. He owns 4Ward Consulting Group and regularly speaks to groups and companies on managing a multi-generational workforce. For more tips, contact SBCA to discover how our Workforce Development tools can work for your company.