The multi-generational workforce: your employees have more in common than you might think. Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of conversation about how different generations approach work and the best way to manage them in the workplace. It turns out much of what we thought we knew about generational differences in the workplace is wrong – that we learn more from patterns and individual behaviors.
What Generations Are in the Workforce and How Are They Impacting The Future of Work?
The five primary generations in today’s workplace include:
- The Silent Generation (born before 1946)
- Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964)
- Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1982)
- Millennials (born between 1983 and 1996)
- Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012)
While these terms seem to be used as a pejorative as often as they are demographic labels, managers notice that employees of all ages seem to want similar things from a values and mindset perspective. Most differences can be attributed to their current age rather than their generational label. For example, if people want tuition reimbursement in their twenties, parental leave in their thirties and 401k matching in their forties, it’s not because they are Gen Z, Millennials or Gen X; it’s because of their current life stage.
What All Employees Want
Flexible hours, the ability to work from home, job sharing – these have value to all employees – even if they use it differently. People need time for educational commitments and family obligations such as caring for children, elderly parents, or grandchildren. Employers who are able to offer this benefit can attract talent, engender loyalty, and improve engagement.
Everyone wants to be heard on the job. They want to share ideas without being ignored and to feel their experience has value. Provide a forum for employees to be heard in the workplace. Put systems in place to share learned information and test new ideas.
Employees of all ages want managers who they can trust, who have their best interests in mind and who know how to lead. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is promoting someone with a specific strong skill with little to no management training, which often fails. For example, there is no reason to believe your highest performing salesperson will make a good sales manager.
Whether it’s a structured management training program to nurture early to mid-career talent up the career ladder or training to effectively use technology, people want to learn. Try to offer different training formats to address various learning styles.
Everyone likes to know how they are doing. Older employees are accustomed to the once-yearly performance appraisal, while younger employees often prefer ongoing weekly or daily feedback. Yearly feedback is terribly flawed, often because of the recency effect. If your evaluation is in January, chances are the feedback will be related to the last quarter, not last March. Frequent feedback is more useful, allowing for course correction and increasing engagement. If you have any employees who resist replacing annual reviews with ongoing feedback, ask if they would rather know right away if they were doing something wrong (or well) or find out at the end of the year?
Partner With The Panther Group
Panther can help employers attract talent of all ages and manage them effectively. Our flexible staffing solutions enable you to step up to today’s business challenges. As experts in recruiting, managing, and training employees, Panther can help you find professionals who will thrive in your organization and have a positive impact on your business. Contact us today.
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