Things are changing in the workplace. By 2020, many companies will have four to five different generations working together. This can be challenging for employers. However, understanding the attributes of each generation can help leaders develop a robust company culture that attracts and retains a multigenerational workforce.
Generation Z 1995 - 2015
Generation Z is entering the workforce now, and like their predecessors, they value flexible schedules, positive company culture and companies that adopt new technologies. Generation Z is still emerging as a demographic, but as the largest generation, they are likely to have a serious influence on the workplace. So, be ready to adapt as this generation takes their place in the workforce.
Generation Y (Millennials) 1980 - 1994
This tech-savvy and optimistic generation is the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce. Unlike Boomers, they are not as loyal and will move on if an organisation doesn’t offer the right motivators. Millennials value a strong company culture, flexible schedules, continued learning opportunities and companies that embrace the latest technologies.
Generation X 1965 - 1980
The Generation X cohort is smaller in numbers compared to their predecessors. They are often thought to be the leaders in work-life balance. This is because they witnessed their parents being retrenched downsized after decades of loyalty to their respective employees and saw how their hardworking parents became exhausted. They value opportunities for professional development and are motivated by flexible schedules, monetary rewards, company benefits and recognition from leaders.
Baby Boomers 1946 - 1964
Baby Boomers predominately hold more positions of authority such as executives and firm leaders and are more established in their careers. Boomers are often motivated by promotions, professional development, monetary rewards and peer acknowledgement. As more baby boomers reach retirement age, they value flexible retirement planning and many of them are intending to continue working in some capacity.
Traditionalists 1922 -1945
This generation was heavily impacted by World War II and the depression. You don’t see as many of them in the workplace now as the youngest of this cohort have reached retirement age. If you have traditionalist within your workforce, ensure they are valued for the knowledge they possess and consider mentoring roles with younger generations (Gen X, Y or Z).
So, what can you do to best manage different generations?
According to the Harvard Business Review, these principles are suggested.
- Experiment with mixed-age teams and mentoring programs that enable older, experienced workers to interact with and learn from younger hires and vice versa
- Develop incentive plans and motivators that reflect your employees – e.g. offer retirement planning, gradual retirement, mentoring programs, flexible schedules and/or professional development opportunities
- Conduct regular employee surveys to get a pulse on the demographics within your business and their needs. Don’t assume you already know how to motivate generations. Ask them what they want out of their professional lives
- Forge partnerships with employees of different ages and encourage them to share their opinions.
Most importantly, don’t let your employees fall for negative generational stereotypes or focus just on the differences. This attitude doesn’t encourage a collaborative multi-generational workforce that will leverage the strengths of each generation and allow intergenerational learning.
A focus on the two common themes are reflected across the generations will enhance the capacity of your organisation to manage the multi-generational workforce. Those two common themes are flexible schedules and a positive company culture (based on recognition, reward and opportunities for learning and development).
If you need more information on managing a multi-generational workforce, then get in contact with Akyra Strategy and Development for an obligation free consultation.
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