How to engage a multigenerational Workforce

by Communicate

The landscape of the modern day workplace has altered in recent years, with up to four different generations working side-by-side, according to KPMG. The Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z are now all working together, which may present a set of challenges to employers and employees alike.

This workforce comes with generational diversity – that varies widely in terms of skillsets, attitudes,  relationships with technology, expectations and training preferences. Therefore, it is important to engage and target each generation specifically – instead of bundling them altogether.

In order to engage and motivate a team that is multigenerational, employers have to understand what values each generation holds and decipher what is important to them.

Baby Boomers (1946-64)

Baby boomers grew up in the post World War II era, which has resulted in a strong work ethic. This generation respect authority and are likely to stay long term with a company. When engaging this workforce in the correct manner several key tactics need to be in place.

Engagement techniques include:

  • Recognise contributions and achievements
  • Challenging, goal orientated assignments
  • Opportunities to mentor younger colleagues

Generation X (1965-1980)

This generation represents many current and rising leaders. The Gen X employees are known for being highly independent and resourceful, being the first generation to start implementing the work/life balance. Many in this generation have extended their time in the workforce, as they were hit the hardest in the 2008 financial crisis.

Engagement techniques include:

  • Family-friendly programs e.g. flexible schedules
  • Provide one-on-one mentoring
  • Have a performance based reward system in place

Millennials (1981-1998)

Millennials have been labelled impatient, lazy and high maintenance by their peers, in the older generations. However this generation is in demand for their technological savvy ways. Millennials make up more than half of the workforce and desire control and customisation, therefore offering pension scheme sign ups allows them to be in control of their future.

Engagement techniques include:

  • Offer flexible work environments and work/life balance
  • Pension scheme sign ups
  • Provide regular feedback and positive reinforcement
  • Provide management training to prepare them for leadership when Gen X and Boomers age out

Generation Z (1998-Present)

This generation currently only makes up 2% of the workforce but will soon be infiltrating it, set to reach 30% by 2020. Having never experienced life without the internet Gen Z are digital natives. Through growing up in the startup of social media platforms they crave constant feedback and seek community, wanting to work for causes they believe in more than any other generation.

Engagement techniques include:

  • Have a mission-driven company culture
  • Financial incentives for hard work
  • Incorporate new technology into training
  • Flat organisational structures that offer access to upper management

Each generation is defined by their different values, attitudes and their takes on the workplace. However they all share the same human desires such as belonging, having a purpose and feeling secure, as well as being recognised for the hard work put in.

It’s important to understand and appeal to the different generations in your workforce to get the most out of them. These shared desires should therefore form the foundations of your company’s employee engagement strategy for a multigenerational workforce.

Here at Communicate, we feel that having a multigenerational workforce is the key to success if engaged in the correct way as optimal results can be gained through the different key skills each generation holds.

For more information about Communicate’s insights visit our blog page.