Keeping Balance in the Changing Workplace of Diversity

By Geoff McLennan

After about 40 years of observing many workplace cultures, I have to ask how much effort do we entail to create a productive environment. I retire soon and reminisce about the changing composition of the workforce and how we manage diversity.

Managers are trained to project trust, teamwork and a neutral workplace but occasionally encounter a perceived or actual indiscretion. Most weeks are good as we go about our roles of self empowered, minimally directed work. People in your work environment, be it your team, unit or division are proficient. Customers expectations are met. Annual training occurs for EEO, diversity and workplace harmony.

Recently, we have the experienced generational shift as millions of Baby Boomers retire from the workforce and younger Millennials and Gen Y’s backfill positions. How has that gone at your workplace? Has the old harmony in the teams continued? How have the new generations merged with the old? It is quite diverse.

I have noted that the retirements followed by new hires have gone well. New employees join the workplace and learn the culture and performance expectations. How do we assure this transfer of workplace harmony from the old to the newer generations? Has the culture “question authority” of the Boomers waned, is it becoming extinct? Have the hang-ups of the past workplace such as fear of harassment, prejudice and other impediments been eliminated? It seems that interracial marriage has created a very diverse populous and more challenge if we have some persons that may perceive themselves as more than one race.

Let’s share how this evolving workforce changes management, policy and perception.


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