In the present times, Organizations are in the unexpected state of having five generations working together. Though the definition of each generation may vary slightly, any workplace includes members from these five generations: Traditionalists (born 1927-1945), baby boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), millennials/Generation Y (1981-1996) and Generation Z (those born in 1997 or later). Making the matters more complex for organizations is their typical full-time and part-time positions being augmented with gig economy roles such as freelance, contract and temporary employment options. This complex and diverse workforce coupled with the growing competition to attract and retain top talent makes culture and work environment a key focus for employers looking to gain a strategic advantage.
Why engaging workforce matters?
According to Deloitte University Press’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report fully 85 percent of survey respondents ranked engagement as a top priority, yet only 46 percent reported that they were ready to take on engagement challenges. In fact, according to Gallup, almost 20 percent of U.S. workers are “actively disengaged” employees, and are likely to undermine coworkers and adversely affect projects. Perhaps worse, most U.S. workers, a whopping 51 percent continue to fall into the “not engaged” category. While these employees do not typically negatively affect business performance, they tend to not take their jobs seriously and are not likely to go the extra mile for clients or customers. Overall, Gallup reports that disengagement costs hurt the U.S. by around $500 billion annually.
In this context, it is clear that disengagement is too big and costly a problem to ignore. So, for enterprises who wish to create compelling work environments that make employees feel valued and treated fairly so they will give that extra discretionary effort to the organization, here are the five touch points to consider and engage their multigenerational workforce better:
Improve user experience and efficiency of hiring process
Technology and user experience play a critical role in your hiring process and can help in starting the right engagement efforts. A recent survey found that 20 percent of job seekers would give up on an online application if they couldn’t complete it on a mobile device. While 70 percent of job seekers are not averse to applying for a job via smartphone, only about a quarter of large companies surveyed have optimized their hiring process for mobile devices. This shows a significant gap that all employers should keep in mind while designing their hiring process. Besides, the use of prescreening tools can be also used to short list best-fit candidates so that hiring managers and recruiters manage their time efficiently. Alerts, notifications and automated workflows are also a great addition to make hiring process easier and more efficient while keeping everyone involved on-task.
Create a Reverse Mentoring Program
One way to promote cross-generational understanding is through a mentorship program that connects employees at different stages in their careers. Consider the trend of reverse mentoring which engages younger and older workers and encourages mentorship and learning that benefit both. Organizations should treat their multi-generational workforce as a strength and encourage their diverse workforce to efficiently share their knowledge and mentor one another.
Flexible scheduling tools to manage working hours
When employees have access to flexible scheduling tools to manage their working hours, companies see a significant impact on performance, engagement and retention. Technology can help organizations allow more power and decision making rights to their employees when they work, through tools like shift swapping. Self-service tools enhance the flexibility for employees and release managers from the burden of managing open shifts at the last minute. Results from a recent Aptitude Research Partners study indicated that organizations that allowed shift-swapping capabilities, irrespective of their industry type were 55 percent more likely to display higher than industry average levels of engagement and 53 percent more likely to have below average turnover for their industry.
Continuous feedback to manage performance
Managers need to provide employees with continuous feedback instead of the traditional approach of annual reviews or when discipline is necessary. When employees know how they’re doing -- and how their ongoing activities align with corporate goals -- they perform at a higher level and stay with an organization longer. Emerging technology offer managers with right tools to give regular feedback on employee activities connected to goals and key performance indicators, and to promote ongoing performance development, manage compensation and stay on top of learning and development to advance skills. Providing all of this with an easy-to-use, mobile interface helps create a more engaged, motivated and productive workforce.
Recognize and reward people
Planning effective employee appreciation for a multigenerational workforce challenges HR to show gratitude in ways that bring everyone together, while still addressing the concerns of a diverse workplace. When businesses know, what motivates or discourages certain generational groups or individuals, they can customize their response, build more effective teams, and tailor their recognition and reward programs. It is important to ensure that your employee appreciation accounts for all ages and generations helps foster a workplace-wide culture of gratitude.
Leading companies work hard to deliver a superior customer experience to attract, engage, retain and cultivate customers and clients. Organizations must adopt a similar approach for their workforces, and discover ways to make the employee experience rewarding, more transparent, easier, and professionally fulfilling, regardless of their generation.