It’s no secret that millennials are taking the workforce by storm. In fact, in a recent study by Upwork shows that 45% of the current workforce is comprised of millennials, up 20% from 2005.
While the average age of employees is an obvious change in the workplace, one of the less obvious changes is the difference in office etiquette. A lot of this change is coming from the increased use of technology in the office. Millennials practically grew up with their fingers on a keyboard, and a cell phone in their hand, where older generations in the workplace are learning as they go along.
Millennials have been known to text with their bosses, and tweet about funny things their co-workers say or do – something that Generation X or Baby Boomers would not have done (or had the option to do) as young professionals.
While this change in etiquette isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is causing a bit of coarseness between generations in the workplace.
“More than 60% of employers say they there is tension between the generations in the workplace,” says Dawn Stanyon in an article on Emily Post. “Fifty perfect or more of Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers alike perceive that their talents and abilities are not appreciated by the other generations.”
“The perception of incivility seen in the workplace these days is heavily driven by technology,” said Tony Ventrice, CDO of Badgeville. “Technology is making us more productive, but it can also cause some rifts between generations.”
According to Ventrice, millennials have a fair amount of power since they’re much more familiar with technology than Generation X and Baby Boomers. Since millennials ‘know more’ they feel that they’re entitled to new rules of etiquette, and from the perspective of an older generation, this can seem less polite.
I think everyone can agree that working in an environment where you feel like you have to walk on eggshells every second of the day would be pretty lousy. So, how do you reach a happy medium between the generations in the workplace?
Here’s a simple equation from Ventrice that breaks it down:
When millennials understand that there is hierarchy in the workplace that has to be followed and managers understand how millennials function, and what they ultimately want from their job, then there is a happy work environment where tensions are low.
“If both sides of the equation connect and understand each other, things are going to run a lot more smoothly,” says Ventrice.
About the author
Sarah Lynch is an intern for CAREEREALISM Media. She is a senior Mass Communications Major with a minor in Public Relations at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.
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