Leading and Engaging a Multigenerational Workforce

Friday, 29 September 2017 10:20 Written by
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Picture the scene. You have fresh-faced graduate working alongside a 60-year-old work colleague on the same project. These two employees work for the same employer but have very different expectations and views of the workplace.

We’re now facing a workplace where in theory, many employers could have employees ranging from 18 to 80 in the workplace. This has huge implications for employers in terms of managing the needs and expectations of Millennials, Generation X and the Baby Boomers.

Four generations are in the work force. Ranging from septuagenarians to 20-something recent college graduates, your company may experience the challenges posed by having so many different sets of values, expectations and work styles in the workplace.

 

multigenerational workforce

Overview of the Generations

Many workplaces are facing the challenge of employing a range of generations that encompass Veterans (1939-1947), Baby Boomers (1948-1963), Generation X (1964-1978) and Millennials(1979-1991)

One of the biggest challenges facing leaders will be managing an employee age profile which in theory could range from 18 to 80

Among the challenges facing managers today is effectively dealing with a diverse workforce. This diversity is not limited to gender, religion, ethnicity, and racial background it also relates to the various generational values found in the workplace today

Having employees of different ages working side by side is nothing new. But a heightened focus on generational differences in recent years has altered the conversation. Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1965, and known for their self-involved, career-oriented, goal-driven attitudes, have been the dominant players for the past three decades. But millennials are surging into the workforce with a decidedly different set of experiences and needs, and much has been written about the clashing characteristics of these two groups. Sandwiched in between are the Gen Xers, who already hold some leadership positions and are staking out territory for more.

Each generation is defined by a set of stereotypes that emerge from some clear truths. Millennials in particular are saddled with a raft of traits, both good and bad, that have framed the discussion. They are the most-educated generation, the most technically savvy and the most socially conscious. Like the baby boomers, they are considered self-centered—but they differ in several notable ways: They are impatient, for example, and in need of constant feedback and hand-holding, residue from being raised by overly protective parents. The knock on millennials is that they will abandon jobs quickly if their needs are not met. But there is disagreement among the experts over how much the generational differences matter in terms of employee engagement.

 

Benefits of the Multigeneration Work Team

There are several benefits to be gained by the whole organization when a multigenerational team works well together. A positive, inclusive work culture can lead to business success by enhancing recruitment, retention and profitability.

  • The team can attract and retain talented people of all ages.
  • The team is more flexible.
  • The team can gain and maintain greater market share because its members reflect a multigeneration market.
  • Decisions are stronger because they’re broad-based with multiple perspectives.
  • The team is more innovative and creative.
  • The team can meet the needs of a diverse public and can relate more effectively.

 

Crossing the Generational Divide

At the companies that are the most focused on the engagement issue, the effort pays off with cross-pollination among the generations, the best way for senior leaders to engage employees across generations is to take key steps for managing an age-diverse workforce:

  • Be intentional in your approach to leadership to get greater productivity and better results.
  • Determine which rewards are most valuable to different employee groups and then give managers the tools to offer those rewards.
  • Support the needs of different generations through flexible work arrangements.
  • Foster intergenerational teaming and learning.
  • Identify your most critical roles and skills gaps, and ensure you have succession plans in place.

 

In the quest for higher levels of engagement across the organization, the key is leveraging the full capacity of the multigenerational workforce rather than segmenting it based on age affiliation.

In the end most companies are trying to answer the question ‘What engages and satisfies employees at all levels of the organization, regardless of their generational group?”

We at Employwise help you with such initiatives in becoming an evolved and vibrant work place by breaking the functional silos and engaging across all levels of people and hierarchy !

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