Bridging the generational gap in the workplace is a growing challenge throughout all sectors of organizational life. Currently, there are four generations working together in most businesses, and this broad age range has the potential to create tension and disharmony as generations try to work alongside one another (Bennet, Pitt, & Price, 2012). For young, millennial data analysts, finding where they belong can be frustrating because they can be misunderstood as millennials and as data analysts. Organizations are growing in their use of analytics as they increasingly use data and systematic reasoning in their decision-making (Davenport et al., 2010); this makes millennial data analysts highly valuable, and creates an imperative that work environments are conducive for a multigenerational workforce.
Data analysts should possess quality communication skills (Lytle, 2016), business domain knowledge (Watson, 2012), and statistical training (Lytle, 2016). It is critical for organizations to find, develop, manage, and deploy such individuals (Davenport et al., 2010), and there is little time for disharmony due to generational differences. For organizational leaders, this creates the need to create an organizational culture for various generations to work in harmony and efficiency.
Millennials are perceived as narcissistic, entitled, shallow, and selfish (Stein, 2013), however they actually prefer to work in teams rather than going solo because teamwork is more fun and it minimizes risk (Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). They are untraditional and unafraid of challenging the status quo, and they value environments that foster creativity and independent thinking (Armour, 2005). In order to capitalize on what Millennials bring to the table, and integrate them in the already established workforce, there are four principles (Steelcase, 2009) to follow:
- Support mobility
- Foster collaboration
- Take advantage of technology
- Adapt HR structure and culture
How can Boomers not be overlooked in the embrace of Millennials?
Armour, S. (2005). Generation Y: They’ve arrived at work with a new attitude. USA Today. Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2005-11-06-gen-y_x.htm
Bennet, J., Pitt, M., & Price, S. (2012). Understanding the Impact of Generational Issues in the Workplace. Facilities, vol. 30(iss. 7/8), pp. 278 – 288.
Davenport, T. H., Harris, J. G., & Morison, R. (2010). Analytics at work: smarter decisions, better results. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Press.
Lytle, T. (2016). Help Wanted: Hr Analysts. HR Magazine, 61(1), 32.
Myers, K. K., & Sadaghiani, K. (2010). Millennials in the Workplace: A Communication Perspective on Millennials’ Organizational Relationships and Performance. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25(2), 225–238. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-010-9172-7
Stein, J. (2013, May 20). Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/247/millennials-the-me-me-me-generation/
Watson, H. J. (2012). The Necessary Skills for Advanced Analytics. Business Intelligence Journal, 17(4), 4–7.