The two key factors that are impacting all major workforces are the changing dynamics of demographics and technological transformations. As technological transformations sweep across the globe, the most common challenge faced by HR practitioners is how to manage a multi-generational workforce.
Today’s typical workforce comprises of four generations - Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. Each and every generation has its own style of working, own thought process, aspirations, fashion of communication and varied expectations in terms of compensation, benefits and growth. These differences between generations often result in tensions and miscommunication, but such differences can provide opportunities for diversity and growth.
A recent industry study revealed that almost all workforce across industries comprise 70% of Millennials. Having said that, there is also a significant percentage of both Baby Boomers and Generation X. Be it Millennials, Baby Boomers or Generation X, one thing is sure – one size doesn’t fit all. Aspirations and concerns of Baby Boomers would be different from that of Millennials and would be significantly different from Generation X. With time, HR practices have grappled with challenges of managing each and every segment of the workforce, keeping in mind their aspirations and growth.
So how do you manage a workforce where the age limit varies from 22-60. Is there any secret? There is no definite answer. In an ever-changing society and a dynamic workplace, strategies change according to the situation. Keeping stereotypes aside, some things remain constant. All employees need an engaging work environment, a good manager and clarity on their role and how it is impacting business and the customer.
How we harness the power of a multigenerational workforce can have a significant impact on business. Here are my three tips in getting the best out of a multigenerational workforce:
- One size doesn’t fit all: We must remember that humans remain at the core of our business. Every individual is different from the other. When we are managing a multi-generational workforce the best way is to avoid is ‘a one-size-fits-all’ managerial approach. For HR practitioners, it is very important to formulate a task force and involve people from multiple age groups and make them appreciate and understand each other’s concerns and aspirations. This creates empathy.
- Avoid stereotyping your workforce: No matter how diverse your workforce might be, they should echo the spirit of one age. Speaking in one wavelength will ensure a cohesive workforce. The experience of the older generation of workers and exuberance of the young generations will add valuable quality and diversity of opinion to the workforce.
- Align workforce with the larger business goal: It is very important to keep the motivation of the workforce across multiple generations always on a high. It is indeed a difficult task, because at every stage of our life the value of motivation changes. The kind of motivation that works for Baby Boomers will be in stark contrast to what would work for Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. But what works wonders is the fact that if each and every member of the workforce is kept aligned to his/her larger role in the organization and how it is impacting business, and then the overall organization’s objective is not compromised. There is no greater motivation than realizing that you have made a significant impact to the business.
Today we have a workforce of which 60-70% was born in the digital era. They always believe in challenging the status quo and if you can pride them with a meaningful job, then they wouldn’t mind walking the extra mile. This can make a serious impact in business. However, one thing is for sure, we need to create multiple touch points to gauge the sentiments of a multi-generational workforce.