The Millennial Guide to Connecting With Older Co-Workers

For millennial workers entering the workforce, or taking over leadership roles, connecting with more experienced co-workers can be difficult. As a legal support professional, you’re working with people of your parents’ generation and it can be difficult to relate to them as peers. Here are some tips to help you overcome this challenge.

Don’t make assumptions.

Just because your parents are baffled by technology, don’t assume your co-workers will be. While older employees currently active in the workforce may not have grown up with technology, they have learned to adopt it throughout their career. Some may learn just the minimum required to do their jobs, while others dive right in and embrace it. You never know until you’ve worked with them.

Choose a mentor.

Mentoring doesn’t have to be a formal, company-initiated relationship. You can just partner with an older co-worker you click with. They have a lot to share and are usually eager to work with new employees. Think of it as a partnership, rather than a student/teacher relationship. Mentors can teach you company practices and culture – particularly unspoken rules and expectations. You can help them stay up-to-date on business, industry innovations and legal changes, so they remain relevant on the job.

Consider your management style.
While many millennials appreciate ongoing feedback so they can course correct along the way, people who have been in the workforce for decades may be more accustomed to annual performance reviews. More frequent interaction may be seen as micromanaging. Try to strike a balance that you are each comfortable with.

Tailor your approach to adapt to their communication style. You may think it’s enough to post information to an intranet site or company message board while older workers may prefer a phone call, email or meeting to relay or discuss information.

Learn from each other.
You may have different work styles. Some older workers may believe that if you’re not in your chair, you’re not working and when five o’clock rolls around, they are done thinking about work until the next day. You may be accustomed to working in a coffee shop or checking work emails from home. Professionals of your generation often multitask rather than working on one project at a time. Both approaches are valid, so don’t hesitate to share your best practices with co-workers of all ages.

Throughout your career, you’ll work with people of all ages. Older millennials are in their mid-thirties and may already be seeing Generation Z individuals entering the workforce, so it’s important to be accepting and able to adapt.

If you’d like more tips on working with a variety of ages and personalities in the workplace, contact the legal support recruiting professionals at Kent Legal.