Managing a Remote Workforce that Spans Generations: 5 Tips

Managing a Remote Workforce that Spans Generations: 5 Tips

Adapting to the ever changing workplace environment is challenging for managers. Not only is the office culture changing with the advancement of more flexible work options, the people who make up today’s workforce are also changing day-by-day and year-by-year.  Effectively managing a remote workforce that encompasses multiple generations requires managers to unify baby boomers, gen Xers, millennials, and gen Zers. They can do that by identifying and leveraging each generation’s nuances and strengths to benefit their organization’s bottom lines.

To help managers acclimate to the multigenerational workforce, MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s online MBA program developed a guide based on a white paper from UNC Executive Development that provides actionable steps employers can take to cultivate a work culture where all generations can thrive through harmonious collaboration.

Here are five tips from MBA@UNC’s guide for managing a remote workforce that spans multiple generations:

1. Communicate messages based on your employee’s generational preference.

Each generation’s work style is different. For example, members of generation X prefer that communication be delivered informally and effectively, whereas millennials value constant feedback and appreciate positive reinforcement.

2. Avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to reward and recognition programs.

Motivate employees with incentives that matter most to them. In order to offer employees effective recognition and reward programs, you must first identify what motivates and what ticks off different generational groups.

3. Develop programs that encourage generations to collaborate and share knowledge.

Nearly 70 million baby boomers are expected to retire over the next decade. Poised to exit the workforce, baby boomers will take their valuable knowledge and experience with them if you don’t create knowledge transfer opportunities to avoid “brain drain.” This sharing of knowledge when managing a remote workforce is vital to the success of your business.

4. Build diverse teams with shared goals.

By providing ways for different generations to work together toward the same goal, you allow employees the opportunity to learn to adapt to their peers’ work styles. Working with contrasting generations can be challenging, but it can also be an opportunity for employees to see that there are shared values that span across all generations.

5. Advise business leaders to be flexible in their management style.

Preferred management styles vary by generation. Generation X wants managers who are straightforward, genuine, and “hands-off.” Millennials, on the other hand, expect supervision and crave acknowledgement for their work.

To learn more about how to leverage each generation’s strengths to make your organization stronger, and for more tips on managing a remote workforce, read MBA@UNC’s “Guide to Leading the Multigenerational Workforce.”

molly greenbergMolly Greenberg is the community content manager for MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s online MBA program. Molly was named one of Washington’s 100 top tech leaders by the Washingtonian in 2015 for her in-depth media coverage of the business of higher education, education policy, education technology, and startups across the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia region.


By Molly Greenberg | November 4, 2015 | Categories: Remote Management


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