The Impact of Generational Gaps on Organisational Performance

Understanding and ensuring productivity accross the different age groups in your organisation


Salau Ibrahim

Product Manager, TAMS

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There is a growing need for organizations to pay attention to the differences in interests, values, work ethics, work styles and career expectations. With each new generation comes new demands from society, not to mention new expectations for companies and the workforce. Over time, the lack of attention to this pertinent issue has resulted in avoidable conflicts in most organizations in Nigeria.

Because each generation has unique characteristics, things will likely not always be smooth sailing when the age gap reflects in workplace relations. As an employer, it can be very challenging to manage the expectations of multigenerational employees- each one has completely different expectations and priorities.

However, understanding the potential challenges is the first step to solving them. In line with this, here are a few of the problems that can arise from multigenerational relations in a workplace:

  • Differences in the meaning of values and ethics
  • Divergent perceptions of and disposition to work
  • Communication gap and its inevitable risk of conflict
  • Conflict resolution styles which might result in lack of mutual understanding or even tolerance

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As a result of these, productivity in the workplace could be hampered, hence there is every need for the management of the organization to be proactive about issues related to conflict before they escalate towards dissent.

In that regard, generational gap frictions could be managed in the workplace through the following ways:

1. Company-wide or interdepartmental team bonding events to aid out-of-office interactions among team members.

2. Restructuring the workplace to reflect team spirit which would in turn foster healthy communication among team members.

3. Creating age-diverse projects which would cut across different generations.

4. Avoiding the delivery of judgments based on sentiment or stereotypes.

5. Cultivating an open communication style in the workplace to allow for idea generation and knowledge sharing among diverse generations.

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