In the present times, organizations have found themselves in the unexpected social phenomenon where a workplace has members from the following five generations working together:
• Traditionalists (born 1927-1945)
• Baby boomers (1946-1964)
• Generation X (1965-1980),
• Millennials/Generation Y (1981-1996)
• Generation Z (those born in 1997 or later)
According to Forbes, 85% of large global companies believe that diversity is crucial to innovation in the workforce
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 presents employers with a unique opportunity to gain a strategic advantage by upping their engagement efforts. These are three key aspects which organizations must focus on to appeal to the multiple generations and set them up for success.
Communication is crucial to managing the generational differences in the workplace. And with the advent of technology, leaders need to possess the skills and tools needed to communicate with the hyper-connected generation.
To ensure that their modern workforce is engaged, they need to understand the generational characteristics that exists and focus on bridging the gaps between the diverse communities. Having everyone together on the same employee advocacy or communications platform to create collaboration and cohesion is important to encourage them to work for one shared goal.
Reciprocal and reverse mentoring programs that pair seasoned executives and younger professionals are also a good option to help different generations with diverse skills to educate and enable each other. For example, if your younger employees need business acumen guidance, assigning a Baby-Boomer mentor to them will help. If your Boomers are struggling with new technologies, leverage your Millennials or Gen Z-ers to simplify the technological challenges for them.
Work & Workplace Environment
According to a Columbia University study, the probability of job turnover at a company with high company culture is only 13.9%, compared to 48.4% at an organization with poor company culture.
Company culture is a concept growing more popular by the day, and not just among younger generations—it’s becoming important to everyone. It refers to a company’s brand appeal to the internal stakeholders or employees in their workforce. Building a culture that corresponds with the generational differences in the workplace can be tough, but it’s mostly just about bringing people together. Having policies and values in place that is built around empathy and contemporary culture is important for any company
34% of Gen X and Boomers would like to work from home, and 74% claim they’d like more work flexibility.
For example, having a flexible office environment will help companies appeal 68% of Millennials looking for the remote work opportunities as part of their jobs. Work-life balance is a crucial aspect of engagement, irrespective of the type of workforce, and enabling flexible work schedules is a great step in this direction. Initiatives like these which are developed with the generational mindset in consideration are indispensable to a sustainable and engaging work environment.
Talent & Learning
It is important to leverage innovative learning methodologies such as games, simulations, reverse mentoring, e-coaching, peer-to-peer learning, and informal learning, to accelerate learning across the multi-generational workforce. It is important to have the perfect learning mix for your different audience. For example, Millennials usually don’t prefer long, detailed case studies, so try short, timely examples for them. Boomers like relevancy in their learning, so examples that are relevant to the workplace and application oriented should be introduced for them. The key to effective training for a multi-generational workforce is to have a variety of learning methods and to be adaptive as you work through the training.
As a leader in a multigenerational workforce, the key to success comes from embracing and understanding diversity, and using the knowledge you gain to enhance engagement. By developing a robust platform for communication, any organization can create a workplace that’s truly inclusive for professionals irrespective of their generation.