Our start up centre partners, New Millennia Group Limited, share there thoughts on the challenges of a multigenerational workforce.
Today’s workplace, in theory (and often as a reality) could be home to Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z; that’s ages ranging from 18 up to 70 or 80 years old; a multigenerational workforce.
Obviously, these various generations have differing needs, wants, requirements, understandings and expectations of the workplace. So the issue then arises when one has to manage a multigenerational workforce as one synchronised team.
The key here is not to overlook any of these generations as being anything less than a valuable asset to the workforce. Mature workers, often working into their ‘retirement years’ as we experience an aging population, should not be overlooked due to their age.
Currently, over 30% of today’s UK workforce is over the age of 50, that’s over 10 million and rising!
So with this demographic here to stay and more and more members of Gen Y and Z entering the workforce daily, managers and business owners would do well to balance their workplace environment and management styles to house a multigenerational workforce.
How do these generations differ in the workplace?
Millennials and Gen Z are very much conscious of creating themselves a healthy work-life balance; wellness is a buzzword in 2018, and the workplace is not exempt from this. The issue of mental health is a popular topic and younger generations increasingly want to create themselves a healthy work-life balance; Gallup reported that almost 57% of Millennials said that they class their work-life balance and their well-being in a job as “very important” to them.
While Baby Boomers may not approach their work life with the same attitude, flexible working or other options desired by Millennials to improve work-life balance can benefit Baby Boomers too.
Work Ethic Working Style
In a similar vein, working style and workplace expectations, typically arrive miles apart.
While more mature workers are likely to care less about their surroundings and like the feeling of familiarity and routine, Millenials are fond of options and variation in the workplace to stimulate creativity and drive. This might consist of hot desking or different desk arrangements, such as standing desks and relaxed working areas fitted out with sofas and beanbags or even taking advantage of remote working possibilities. While Baby Boomers may like to make the most of these options too, you may find that the key to truly satisfying both is to ensure that you have options for all, for example, an area of fixed desks and an area for hot desking.
Investment in a business and the longevity of an employee’s commitment to that company will generally differ between generations. Whereas Baby Boomers are more likely to commit to and invest in a company more deeply, joined with the fact that they are already much later in their working life and therefore less likely to hop around, Millennials, Gen Y and Z are, generally speaking, happy to move around, gain experience and travel for job opportunities. So it may pay to offer a strong company culture with the benefits and flexibility that younger generations desire, to ensure a deeper investment in the company all round.
Experience & Learning
It goes without saying that younger candidates will have less experience than the mature Baby Boomer. This experience may span industries and may bring with it contacts and deeply rooted networks which can benefit the company.
Learning needs and approaches will be noticeably different, however do not be deceived in believing that mature workers are all technophobes and Millennials and Gen Y and Z workers are all code-reading, tech savvy individuals. Baby Boomers may need a little more training in some areas of tech, however North Carolina State University found that the older programmers in their study, the over 50s, showed greater expertise in more areas than the younger programmers.