Brewery Vivant and Paige Cornetet

The Place – Brewery Vivant: Vivant is an impressive indoor biergarten in the Belgian tradition, an excellent place to bring family and friends with a highly authentic atmosphere and many delicious microbrews to choose from. Vivant specializes in farmhouse brews, those cloudier beers brewed with local ingredients and a lot of extra flavor. Be sure to try the expansive, sustainable menu, too!

The Business Leader – Paige Cornetet: Paige is the “chief millennial officer” of Millennial Guru, a business team focused on showing companies how to hire, train, coach and interact with younger workers. Rather than make this issue an HR-only topic, Paige and Millennial Guru approach it from a holistic angle, helping managers and leaders throughout the company understand the “capital – human, intellectual, and identity” that millennials bring to the table.

Breaking Down Barriers Between Workforce Generations

Think About Horizontal and Vertical

Paige suggests thinking about older generations as a “vertical” generation – a slow work up the chain at a company for years as you impress your boss, put in the time, and eventually become the boss. The newer generations (fueled by technological revolutions, industry upheavals, and new life goals) are “horizontal” generations: They move across industries, don’t mind switching jobs on the fly, and don’t have much interest in climbing a vertical ladder of any kind. They prefer to see everyone on an equal playing field, available for team-ups – and this view is facilitated by technology. When problems arise between older and younger generations working together, it’s often a result of vertical and horizontal mindsets clashing.

Technology Doesn’t Have to Be a Barrier – and Shouldn’t Be

The common belief goes, “Older generations don’t care much for technology, while millennials love and use it constantly.” However, it’s important to recognize that this isn’t always true and doesn’t have to be true for your business. We probably all know at least a couple older business leaders that are just as obsessed with technology as any entry-level employee, and always investigating the latest gadgets. In these cases, they already tend to have that “horizontal” mindset, and technology is helping them explore it. Old dogs can learn new tricks – and sometimes they love it. However, to start the process, everyone involved must be open to learning and sharing.

Success Starts with Conversations

For younger generations, a common concern is their ability to hold onto a conversation when it moves offline and into face-to-face meetings or interviews. For older generations, the primary worry is approaching younger workers and successfully communicating needs or expectations to someone with a very different perspective. The key to both these problems is, fortunately, the same thing: Talking it out. If companies are worried about their relationships with millennials, the solution starts with conversations. This helps both sides understand that everyone involved is human, and that they have plenty in common despite the differences. Plus, it’s good communication training!

Businesses Should Always Strive to Learn Who Their Employees Are

Younger generations tend to be more wary of being “slotted” into specific positions solely because of their skills or training. When a millennial worker is having trouble in a position, the problem is often not their experience – their boss has usually already checked this – but rather their interest level. Younger generations usually want to be an active part of the company, and may be discontent with certain jobs like filling out endless datasets (or vice-versa! There are all kinds of people!). The key is sitting down and talking with employees to find out what they really want, what they think of their role in the company, and where they want to go. The answers may be surprising – and will always be informative.

Paige has a lot more to say about younger generations, the challenges of communication, and how businesses are changing. Check out more interviews here!

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