The perceived differing work styles among Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z might be great fodder for social media parody videos but managing generations within an organization is an issue that has challenged leaders and created workplace strife for generations.
On November 1 from 3 to 5 p.m., The College of Saint Rose will present “Intergenerational Differences at Work,” a free, two-hour online workshop that offers important context and practical strategies to leading a generationally diverse workforce. All industries and fields – and leaders at various levels – will benefit from the discussion. Educators can earn two hours of CTLE credit, and a certificate will be issued by Saint Rose.
Shown from left to right, Dr. Chris Abdoo, Dr. Haidy Brown, Dr. Warren Cook, and Dr. Deborah Shea
Leading the discussion will be a panel of experts in business and education:
- Dr. Chris Abdoo is assistant superintendent for support services at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District.
- Dr. Haidy Brown is an assistant professor of management in the Huether School of Business at Saint Rose.
- Dr. Warren Cook is an assistant professor of management in the Huether School of Business at Saint Rose.
- Dr. Deborah Shea is an assistant professor/program coordinator for the educational leadership programs in the Thelma P. Lally School of Education at Saint Rose and has extensive leadership experience in rural, urban, and suburban districts.
“A significant problem is that people make strong assumptions about others based on their age. Most employees over the age of 45 report experiencing or observing some form of age discrimination at work. In 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received nearly 13,000 age-discrimination claims,” Cook says.
“Discrimination can take many forms; older workers may be dismissive of younger workers due to perceived lack of experience, and younger workers may be patronizing toward older workers due to perceiving them to be out of touch. Neither of these perceptions is necessarily accurate, and it’s extremely harmful to hold strong assumptions about a coworker based on age-based stereotypes.”
Schools experience many of the same issues, and age differences can sometimes stand in the way of strong communication and collaboration that would lead to a stronger organization.
“My current (educational leadership) students continuously categorize ‘older teachers’ as being resistant to change and infer conclusions about their capacity. Merging a younger teacher into a department or grade level of veteran teachers frustrates everyone. Newer teachers are unaware of how to express something they just learned in college that could assist a veteran teacher. Veteran teachers are not inclined to find that these ideas are worthy of further pursuit,” Shea says. “Building leaders need to understand how to develop the social capital of their schools as a system and build strong teams through collaboration and an expectation that all contribute.”