Recently, I wrote an article, “Blending Generations”, on how to create a culture where Millennials and Boomers “play nicely” in the sandbox. Now I’d like to share the results of a recent survey regarding what engineers and designers of different ages have learned from working with their older or younger peers. The results are good news for those willing to build the right culture in their team.
Here are the questions we asked our “millennial” staffers:
What valuable things have you learned from working with your older staff members?
According to the survey, 71% of the millennials valued the learning they acquired from working with their boomer peers. Some of the written comments include:
“Working with older staff has been a very valuable experience to for me. After being here for over a year, I have amassed a large group of older coworkers I consider friends. The amount of knowledge many of them possess is immense. They are inspiring in many ways. And they serve as role models, and help me actualize expectations of my own personal growth for the future. It grounds my position within the company.”
When you get responses like this, you know your company culture is doing a good job of serving your younger staff members.
Here are the questions we asked our “boomer” staff:
What valuable things have you learned or experienced from working with your younger staff members?
The survey also shows the positive impact of boomers working with millennials. Indeed, 63% indicated that their energy and enthusiasm was boosted by working with younger staff members. Having millennials as part of a team provides a shot of adrenaline.
Some of the written comments include:
“In the process of teaching them, I often stop to think more carefully about my understanding of a subject and end up having additional insights or a better understanding.”
“I learned to understand the importance and relevance of including the new and untried alongside the tried and true.”
“I enjoy teaching younger engineers about design and how it relates to manufacturing. They need to understand, ‘If you don't know how it is made, then how can you properly design it.’”
With the right mix of staff members of all ages, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. A positive generational mix is beneficial to everyone and helps build organizational strength and satisfaction in the workplace.
Everyone benefits from having a positive generational mix and it helps build organizational strength and personal satisfaction in the workplace.
About the Survey:
The survey conducted by IPS involved responses from nearly 100 individuals on its team. Hard age brackets were not pre-assigned. Each respondent was asked to align with the generational category with which they felt most closely aligned. While not a scientific survey and one of limited reach, there are nonetheless interesting trends and findings from which we can learn from in building a top tier team.
Mitch is the President and Cofounder of Intelligent Product Solutions (IPS), a leading product design and development firm. He honed his deep knowledge of product design on the strength of a 30-year career with companies that manufacture commercially successful products for the consumer, industrial, and DoD markets. Prior to launching IPS, Mitch was VP of Engineering at Symbol Technologies. Always espousing a hands-on approach to design, he holds a portfolio of numerous United States and international patents. Mitch holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Hofstra University, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He can be reached at [email protected].