Top-Shelf Tip No. 130:

"Happiness and engagement at work is not a function of wealth, seniority or privilege—it is a function of attitude."

Chris Atkinson

Engaging Employees Across All Generations

Chances are, your organization employs people from multiple generations. With all the various generations coming together, there are bound to be some generational stereotypes coming into play. As a leader, you must be wary of using generational stereotypes to influence your decisions. When you're biased about how a certain age group performs or what a particular generation needs to be successful, you can't effectively lead.

Kim Alexandre, a VP and senior consultant for The Center for Sales Strategy, says there are a few important steps leaders can take to help everyone on their team feel better in a cross-generational workplace. We share her thoughts in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Reduce psychological risk at work. Alexandre notes that when employees are provided with opportunities to grow and develop, are recognized and rewarded, and are encouraged to voice their opinions and offer ideas, they are likely to be more engaged and more productive. However, if an employee feels mistakes or weakness will be held against them, or they feel unheard and disrespected, they are likely to hold back and be disengaged.

Regularly invite employee feedback. You will learn the most about your employees by encouraging feedback often. The more honest they are in providing feedback, the more you learn about how you can motivate them. One idea to achieve this is to hold a town hall meeting once a quarter where you help answer questions that are on the minds of your employees. Being transparent helps build trust, so the more honest and open you are, the more honest and open feedback you'll get. This feedback is a great way for you to learn more about what employees are thinking about as well as a great way to show that you value everyone's feedback.

Frequently celebrate individual wins. Every person has their strengths and contributes to the success of your company in different ways. Alexandre says that celebrating individual wins often helps everyone in the company recognize all the different ways in which coworkers are helping the company as a whole. For example, if someone in accounts receivable was successful in getting all collections over 90 days paid up, send a company email congratulating and thanking that person for a job well done. If a salesperson upsold a key account for the second year in a row, take the time to congratulate them at the next all-staff meeting.

No matter what an employee's age is or the generation they represent, transparency, strong leadership and a consistent effort to keep employees engaged makes people of all ages feel valued for their contributions. Be mindful of how you approach bias, but also make sure your team leaders are mindful, too. Change starts at the top, and if all leaders are on the same page, the rest of your company will feel it, too.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Through identifying top talent, providing training and defining the appropriate tactics, Kim Alexandre helps sales organizations maximize performance. She specializes in digital, sales process, sales management, coaching and professional development.

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