We’ve all heard the mumblings. Millennials are lazy and entitled. Baby Boomers are technologically inept and unwilling to learn new things. Generational biases like this are alive and well in today’s workplace and when they are allowed to fester, they can stifle innovation and stagnate growth. Yet for many of us, these assumptions are ingrained in who we are. If we’re not careful, they can become a knee-jerk reaction with negative consequences for the business. To keep generational biases out of your property management firm, here are five things every leader will need to do.
Eliminating generational bias begins with each individual taking the time to examine what, if any, preconceived notions they have in mind. This requires introspection and honesty. Once we admit that we are struggling with certain assumptions, we can then get to the root of why these ideas exist and work on changing our personal lenses. Create opportunities to engage with those whom you’ve pre-judged and experience firsthand what they are really like (as opposed to how you envision them to be).
Hire for Skill, Not Age
Avoid the temptation to qualify someone based solely or primarily on their age. Just because someone is younger does not mean they aren’t capable of handling a high-level position. Likewise, just because a particular candidate happens to be older doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is not tech-savvy or forward-thinking. Figure out which skills are most important to your property management company culture – like autonomy, flexibility and agility – and recruit for those. Focus on building a dynamic team where age, gender and race are all entirely irrelevant. Only then will you gain the value of true diversity.
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Learn how to match and marry strengths
When you begin to recognize the unique strengths and values that each generation brings to the table, you will be able to begin merging them together to create highly engaging, productive and innovative teams. When you bring people together like this, you’ll achieve a higher degree of diversity within your property management company. Furthermore, identifying and facilitating mentorship opportunities can help both parties learn from and grow with one another, which will further benefit the organization as a whole.
Help promising employees through the ranks
To further eliminate generational bias, it can be beneficial to both the manager and the team member to work on a career path plan together. This will require that leadership dig down and really uncover the valuable skills and unique abilities the employee presents, which helps to see him or her in a new, more positive light. This is a great way to help remove the blinders of existing assumptions and misconceptions surrounding both the individual as well as other workers from that generation as well.
Remember your own past
It’s not uncommon for those in senior leadership roles to feel as though because they put in the time and effort, worked their way up and earned the position they’re in now, they’re somehow better than those who are now climbing the ladder behind them. If you feel you are falling into this trap, take a step back and remember what it was like when you were in their shoes. Chances are you faced many of the same difficulties and obstacles, including being the victim of generational bias yourself. Be sensitive to this and be open to the idea that there are always new, different – and yes, sometimes better ways of doing things.
Great organizations find a way to embrace and support employees from every generation, melding them together in a way that maximizes the strengths of each to achieve optimum, harmonious performance. If generational bias is plaguing your property management company, the time to start making some changes is now. The five tips above should point you in the right direction toward positive change