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December 25, 2019 20 mins

Organizations have up to five generations in the workplace, yet most people tend to congregate with others of the same generation. Even more problematic is the fear that sharing knowledge or making introductions for colleagues will somehow negatively impact one’s own career. As a manager, it’s your job to create an atmosphere of open dialogue where everyone can learn from one another, regardless of age.   

Phyllis Weiss Hazero is the foremost workplace expert on cross-generational dialogue at work. Her newest book You Can’t Google it! The Compelling Case for Cross-Generational Conversation at Work explores generational challenges and opportunities. Phyllis is President of Practice Development Counsel, a business development and organizational effectiveness consultancy, as well as a speaker and blogger on intergenerational relations issues.

Phyllis and I talk about the importance of building relationships across generational cohorts and how you can help create a culture of dialogue. We discuss various alternatives to traditional measures of age, mutual-mentoring, and how to open a conversation with someone you’d like to teach or learn from.


Read the related blog article: Create a Culture of Cross-Generational Dialogue at Work


Join the Modern Manager community ( to get two digital downloads on cross-generational dialogue at work -- 10 Tips for Achieving a Culture of Generational Inclusion, Engagement and Belonging and How to Maximize Cross-Generational Working Relations with Conversations Each Generation Wants to Have.


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  • Organizations can have as many as five generations in their workforce.
  • Age no longer provides an accurate depiction of a person. We must stop making assumptions about what people know, are capable of, or are interested in, based on age.
  • In addition to major societal influences, many things help shape us including religion, where we grew up, educational environment, etc.
  • There are 8 forms of age: (1) Chronological Age; (2) Generational Age; (3) Career Stage, (4) Organizational Tenure; (5) Life Stage; (6) Physical Age; (7) Relative or Social Age; (8) Subjective Age.
  • Stereotypes about age (both positive and negative) are not helpful and contribute to ageism in the workplace.
  • Be proactive in building relationships with people outside your generational cohort. Select three people to invite for a conversation or coffee. Then pick three more.
  • Many people worry they will become expendable if they share what or who they know. You must proactively create an environment for cross-generational dialogue and learning, and encourage sharing. 
  • Two-way mentorship is a fantastic way to build mutually beneficial cross-generational relationships.






Twitter: @phylliswhaserot

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