How to Manage a Multi-generational Workforce

Multi-generational Office Meeting

18th May 2020

3 Minutes

Diverse workplaces are the cornerstone of any great business. From different cultures and ethnicities to different genders and ages – it’s clear that a successful business brings together people from all walks of life. Managing a multi-generational workforce can present its own problems, but the benefits a wide range of experience, age and knowledge offers is often too valuable a resource to turn down.

There are many reasons why age diversity is important in the workplace. People from different age groups bring different experience levels, and in turn, can provide a fresh perspective that is vital for a business that wants to cultivate creativity.

What is a multi-generational workforce

A multi-generational workforce consists of employees from different generations. The most common generations that make up an average workforce are:

  • Baby Boomers: There is a lot of evidence to suggest that they are the most loyal generation in the workforce. This means they are far less likely to change jobs as frequently.
  • Generation X: Are often referred to as independent and self-sufficient. They account for 51% of leadership roles globally.
  • Millennials: They make up the biggest portion of the UK workforce, and are seen as the hardest working generation.
  • Generation Z: It’s not a dominant part of the workforce, but it’s certainly growing. They can be much more diverse and multicultural than the generations who came before them.

Colleagues having discussions

Why is age-diversity important in the workplace

Although it may not be a business attribute that is discussed widely, age diversity is an important asset to your business. It allows you to be distinctive against your competitors, leveraging the multitude of skills and strengths that comes with having a multi-generational workforce.

  • Driving creativity: Having employees from different backgrounds breeds different opinions, experiences and ways of working – inspiring innovative thinking.
  • Preparing for the future: Learning from your multi-generational workforce allows your company to be prepared for future generational talent.
  • Diversity of skills: Age-diversity in your workplace means that each generation will bring their strengths. Where Gen-Z’s may be more tech-savvy and social media friendly, Gen-X may have better experience handling face-to-face pitches and client communication.

Multiple generations standing next to each other

How to manage a multi-generational workforce

There are a few simple ways that your business can reap the benefits of a multi-generational workforce by applying the proper attention and care to the generational needs of its employees.

  • Mentorships: Whether it’s a Millennial colleague mentoring a Baby Boomer on the latest social media apps, or a Gen-X mentoring a Gen-Z colleague on how to handle a client crisis – mentoring is a great way to leverage your employee’s strength whilst allowing them an opportunity to build relationships.
  • Set a clear career path: Have progression plans for all your employees (no matter what their age or position is).
  • One size does not fit all: Re-evaluate your benefits scheme. Younger Millennials want to feel valued in the company whereas older Millennials want a work-life balance. Tailor the benefits you are offering.

Applying these small changes will help you manage your multi-generational workforce and have an overall impact on how your employees feel – in turn, giving your business a diverse workforce with a distinctive edge.

Find more advice on managing your workforce by heading back to our main blog.

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