Today’s workforce is more diverse than ever before, with organizations hiring and retaining employees of varying age groups. Traditionally, organizations had one or two generations at a given time. Now organizations can see and expect up to three or four generations.
We are seeing the Generation Z (those born in the late 1990s and early 2000s) population preparing to enter the workforce and finding a growing number of baby boomers (those born in between the 1940s and 1960s) are choosing to work past retirement age. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018 reported employed individuals who were 65 and over in age represent 18.9 percent of the population. This percentage is expected to grow in the coming years.
Having a multi-generational workforce comes with their own advantages, such as varying skill sets and knowledge, but they also come with their own set of challenges. To understand and adapt to what each generational group value the most, it is important to learn how to communicate with them.
The younger workforce tends to value a social work environment as opposed to working independently or alone. Adopt weekly working sessions to collaborate on ideas or have additional one-on-one sessions with those employees. Don’t think of this as hand holding your employees, but rather staying in touch with your organization and being a mentor. This also gives your team a chance to share their knowledge and experience with each other.
It is important to consider how to communicate with different generations. The communication style for the younger group tends to be informal, often times direct, and more frequent. They prefer to know how they are doing throughout a project rather than waiting until the end for an evaluation of their work. They want to know you and your leadership team are listening to them. Take a look at the mode of communication to your team. Social media platforms made it easier and quicker to communicate with people. The younger workforce expects that communication style to overlap into the work environment, so they tend to prefer texting and emails over in person meetings.
Benefits and Perks
Benefits and perks that your organization offers is something to consider for your team. Organization sponsored events, happy hours, and office celebrations are more important to the younger generation. They may view working at your organization as experiential. Evaluate your benefits offerings and see what you can add to it. It can be as cost effective as free coffee or catered lunch once a month.
Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers have different expectations when it comes to culture and work styles. These groups of the workforce may want to see more time off to vacation or spend more time with their families.
However your organization decides to training styles or employee benefits, having a multigenerational workforce is a beneficial asset.