Workplaces today often hire employees spanning multiple generations, each adding value in their unique style. The approach, goals, thought process, and experience differ in such an age-diverse workforce.
It can become challenging to cope with the generation difference evident in your workplace, yet your organization can benefit from such diversity with a few strategies. Generational differences in the workplace are common nowadays, and it has been seen that different perspectives are advantageous to a company as they:
- Encourage knowledge-sharing
- Enhance customer experiences
- Identify potential solutions to nagging problems
- Create an ideal environment for mentoring
- Provide ample learning opportunities
Generations of Employees
A closer look at the present-day workforce reveals the listed four generations of employees:
- Baby Boomers are those born in the 1946 to 1964 bracket. They are competitive, dedicated, motivated, driven, and work hard.
- People born from 1965 to 1980 belong to Generation X and are comfortable using technology. They are self-sufficient, independent and value their freedom.
- Generation Y or the Millennial workforce arrived on the scene between 1981 and 1996. They work smart, thrive on innovative techniques, and appreciate a flexible working culture.
- Between 1997 and 2010 emerged Generation Z, who are now making an entry into the labor force. This highly tech-savvy generation prefers career stability.
Incorporating Generational Diversity
Despite generational differences in the workplace often giving rise to communication and other challenges, the pros of having a diverse workforce outweigh its cons. Adopting the following strategies helps you to promote, support, and incorporate generational diversity into your workplace.
Rethink Recruitment Approach
If you intend to hire people across generations, you must use multiple recruitment channels ranging from professional networks, referrals to online platforms and social media campaigns. Distribute your vacant positions across appropriate channels using which you can hire potential employees.
Portray your company in a light that appeals to a wider target audience and draft job descriptions with a similar mindset. Baby Boomers are drawn towards your company’s professional achievements while Millennials look for avenues where social responsibility and personal development are propagated.
Stay Clear of Stereotyping
Avoid stereotyping employees on an age yardstick and instead, listen more attentively. Working relationships improve when you customize your approach rather than generalize. For instance, just because an employee is in the older bracket does not imply that they are averse to technology.
Their younger colleagues may find it more challenging to cope with frequent advancements and stress out faster. When the management is more accessible, it opens communication channels and encourages employees to work in unison towards a common goal.
Embrace Varying Communication Styles
Every generation prefers a certain communication method, and embracing all styles increases your company’s chances of attracting a diverse workforce. The senior-most generation may be more comfortable having phone conversations while the younger generations rely heavily on the faster digital route.
Millennials and Generation Z are more likely to respond to text and e-mail messages rather than phone calls. Adapt your communication strategy accordingly, even when delivering constructive feedback. Gen Z employees expect crisp and immediate feedback, while Gen X is happy even when no reaction is forthcoming.
Create Age-Diverse Teams
You can successfully leverage the strengths of employees spanning generations when you encourage them to collaborate as team members. Even disagreements and conflicting opinions can prove healthy and contribute to the team’s overall growth. Different generations with their unique qualities often drive others to tap their full potential, thereby making the team succeed.
Companies encouraging generational diversity can revel in a strong competitive advantage. Respecting every employee’s opinion, irrespective of age retains and motivates them to remain productive.
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