There’s a new challenge for organizations these days, and that is retaining and maintaining two different generations working together in the same organization. To design systems that are suitable for both Gen Z and Baby Boomers, the first imperative is to understand both these generations. The younger population are more eager and less interested in supervision and managerial tasks. They want to learn to absorb as much as knowledge as they can in first few years of their career. They mostly see it as an extension of their university years and are seeking continuous learning. One major reason for this could be as digital natives, they know about using technology systems and hence look forward to learning new things. For example, baby boomers went through a set of training to understand the using of technology and other skills such as making presentations.
Technology and Learning
Gen Z is already acquainted with technology and is familiar with digital tools; they will always look forward to learning over and above what they already know. Gen Z is far more interested in finding meaning in their work and want to get absorbed completely in their tasks and jobs whereas baby boomers prefer working on a project basis and don’t shy away from alternative work experience. When baby boomers usually stick around for a longer time, Gen Z wouldn’t think twice before making a move when they know that there’s something much better out there for them.
There are differences in how they adapt to learning technology as well. An engaging way to inculcate learning between the two generations could be by creating reverse learning or mentoring opportunities wherein older employees can learn new things from the younger ones. In this way, organizations can also establish a good connection between the employees coming from different generations. When educating baby boomers about the new technology, it is essential to understand their previous experience as they have an additional task of unlearning the old processes in addition to learning about the new ones. For people who are used to the old processes, the transition becomes difficult because of the certain way of execution and expectations.
To retain younger employees it is important to provide a clear mission and letting them know about their contribution to the bigger picture. Managers are mistaken about the Gen Z’s expectation from their work and job. It is not continuous rewards that they seek, they yearn for continuous feedback. An apt analogy to describe this is that of a video game player. They are the generation of video players where they want to know about which level they are on and which they level they want to advance to. Managers should not expect too much loyalty from Gen Z changing organizations for career progression seems very natural to them. On an average, if they don’t get promoted in 18 months, there’s a high chance of them leaving the organization.
Career and personal priorities might vary greatly among both generations. A person who is in the20s will have different priorities from an employee who is 55 y.o. and hence, their expectations from the job and associated benefits will be different as well.
In order to build an organization with multi-generational diversity, it is important to acknowledge the differences and being transparent about the different approaches that you are adopting for retaining both the generations.