Multigenerational Workforce Conflicts

Imagine that you manage a department in a health care organization of your choosing. The organization recently merged with another, layoffs occurred, and departments are now being consolidated. Your department now has employees whose ages span four generations, in which three different cultural groups are represented. Conflict is brewing between them. The conflict is affecting performance, shift scheduling, and cooperation with other departments. Your supervisor requests that you prepare a presentation addressing strategies to effectively manage your multigenerational workforce, especially as it relates to conflict in workstyles.

Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word directive to address these conflicts. Do the following in your directive:

• Assess the situation that your department is facing.

• Create clear and reasonable expectations and goals to achieve cohesion, cooperation, and communication between the four generations of workers in your department.

• Lay out a strategy to overcome these conflicts and improve workplace performance.

• Explain how success will be measured based on your strategy and goals.

• Evaluate what leadership traits you need to incorporate to lead your diverse department.

Cite 3 reputable references to support your assignment

Answer

Multigenerational Workforce Conflicts

Conflicts are common in every workplace. The current healthcare workforce comprises up to four generations, resulting in various intergenerational conflicts due to differences in attitudes, beliefs, values, and ages. Hirsch (2020) notes that a workplace with a multigenerational workforce is more likely to have generational stereotypes, which are a major source of conflicts. However, despite the conflicts, multigenerational workforces are as competent as intragenerational workforces. Healthcare managers are expected to have the skills and competence to enhance the management of intragenerational and intergenerational workforce conflicts and develop strategies to overcome these conflicts. This paper presents a directive that can be used to address multigenerational conflicts in an organization. The directive includes a situation assessment, expectations, and goals to enhance cohesion between generations, develop a strategy to overcome conflicts, measure success and apply leadership traits to lead a diverse department.

Situation Assessment faced by the Department

The department is currently facing various issues, considering it has just been consolidated with another department from the partner organization. Based on the previous layoffs, the consolidation of the departments has led to a workforce consisting of four generations and three cultural backgrounds. The major conflicts result from generational and cultural differences. Some may feel like the older staff is taking advantage of the younger staff in scheduling, task delegation, and difficulties working as a team. These issues are dangerous and may adversely affect the department’s performance due to the constriction and inability to corporate with other departments. Therefore, a need to address this situation exists. A strategy to address the current conflicts and overcome similar conflicts in the future should be developed.

Expectations and Goals to Achieve Cohesion, Cooperation, and Communication Between the Four Generations

Despite the generational differences, the department’s performance is an essential consideration in institutional performance and outcomes. For the workforce to improve performance, there should be cohesion, cooperation, and effective communication between and among workers from different generations. Therefore, it is vital to identify expectations and goals for achieving cohesion, cooperation, and communication. The primary expectation in achieving cohesion, cooperation, and communication is to create an environment whereby multigenerational workers work together in unison and harmony to avoid conflicts. The other expectation is that workers from different generations will be able to respect each other, communicate respectfully and cooperate.

Based on these expectations, the goals to achieve cohesion, cooperation, and communication will include ensuring that members of the intergenerational workforce feel part of the entire group and is confident that their efforts and contributions are valued. Research shows that one of the challenges in a multigenerational workforce is having the older generations feel like they own the group and that only their contribution and efforts matter (Pitout & Hoque, 2022). The goal of achieving cooperation is creating an environment of oneness, openness, and role clarity, to ensure that each group member knows what is expected of them and role conflicts do not lead to more multigenerational conflicts. Note that older workers tend not to value younger workers, citing that they have more experience, while younger workers may disrespect older workers, citing more recent skills (Cvenkel & Cvenkel, 2020). However, the goal of achieving cooperation will enable these workers to overcome differences and work together. Additionally, the goal of achieving communication is to ensure that information and messages are passed effectively and reach all members on time.

Strategy to Overcome Conflicts and Improve Workforce Performance

As mentioned earlier, multigenerational conflicts significantly affect workforce performance by decreasing employee well-being, collaboration, and cooperation and increasing turnover rates. Workforce performance is determined by individual workers’ and collective team productivity. Multigenerational conflicts negatively impact productivity by disrupting the working environment and working conditions. Therefore, developing a strategy to overcome conflicts is integral.

The strategy that will be used to overcome multigenerational conflicts in the workplace and improve workforce performance entails a cycle of six steps, namely, understand and respect different working styles, set values based on all generations represented, encourage perception sharing, develop a generational fix, encourage finding commonalities, and create an environment that fosters learning from each other. According to Gomez and Bernet (2019), workplace performance is enhanced when all workers can work together, show respect for each other and the different roles, and value the efforts and contributions of each team member. These six steps will not only help to overcome conflicts but also improve workplace performance since every generation represented is given a chance to express themselves, share their perceptions and values, and learn from each other, thus encouraging unity, cohesion, respect, effective communication, and collaboration. The strategy can be demonstrated as follows.

 

Goals and Strategy-Based Success Measures

It is essential to measure the effectiveness of conflict-management and prevention strategies and goals, to identify whether changes should be made to the strategy, and what can be done to increase effectiveness. The overall goal, in this case, will be measured using the number of multigenerational conflicts reported in the department, conflict management, and the overall workplace performance based on the team’s productivity. A reduction in the number of conflicts, effective conflict management, and increased productivity and workplace performance will show success in meeting the goal and the effectiveness of the strategy.

Essential Leadership Traits Required in the Diverse Department

Effective leadership in a culturally and generationally diverse department requires specific leadership traits and skills. First, I must incorporate cultural sensitivity and understand cultural stereotypes. Rotenstein et al. (2021) note that leaders of diverse environments should embrace cultural sensitivity and an understanding of cultural stereotypes to ensure they do not judge team members based on their social diversities and avoid bias. Similarly, I need to be culturally sensitive and understand cultural stereotyping. Additionally, as a leader in a diverse department, I need to cultivate self-awareness regarding my strengths and weaknesses, thus enabling me to address the challenges of leading a diverse team and promoting cohesion and communication. The other leadership trait is being accommodative to promote psychological safety to all workers in my department. A multigenerational and diverse department is likely to encounter even unintended conflicts, thus the need to accommodate different workers with their differences, thus be able to guide them in resolving the conflicts.

Conclusion

Multigenerational conflicts are common in diverse workplaces. However, developing strategies and goals to enhance cohesion, collaboration, and communication is essential, thus effectively managing and overcoming multigenerational conflicts. Overcoming intergenerational conflicts in the workplace helps avoid the negative impacts on workforce performance and workers’ well-being. Leaders of diverse departments and settings should have leadership traits to help them lead the teams effectively.

References

Cvenkel, N., & Cvenkel, N. (2020). Multigenerational workforce and wellbeing in the twenty-first-century workplace. Wellbeing in the Workplace: Governance and Sustainability Insights to Promote Workplace Health, 191-224. https://di.org/10.1007/978-981-15-3619-9_9

Gomez, L. E., & Bernet, P. (2019). Diversity improves performance and outcomes. Journal of the National Medical Association111(4), 383-392. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnma.2019.01.006

Hirsch, P. B. (2020). Follow the dancing meme: intergenerational relations in the workplace. Journal of Business Strategy41(3), 67-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBS-02-2020-0034

Pitout, S. & Hoque, M. (2022). Exploring Challenges Faced by Managers Dealing with Multigenerational Workforce. The Eurasia Proceedings of Educational and Social Sciences25, 202-212. https://doi.org/10.55549/epess.1221498

Rotenstein, L. S., Reede, J. Y., & Jena, A. B. (2021). Addressing Workforce Diversity – A Quality-Improvement Framework. The New England Journal Of Medicine384(12), 1083–1086. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMp2032224

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