5 ways to manage a multigenerational workforce
From the 18-year-old intern to the 60 plus year-old CEO and everyone in between, today’s workforce is decidedly multigenerational and is characterized by generational differences. Not only can this cause tension between them, but it can also pose a challenge to HR teams. What’s the best way to communicate with each generation? How do you satisfy everyone with your employee benefits offerings? And more. In this Pacific Prime UK article, we’ll give you 5 ways to manage a multigenerational workforce.
1. Who are your employees? Research and understand generational differences
Before leading a multigenerational workforce, it’s important that you do your research. To start off with, find out which generations your employees belong to and identify trends within each generation using a data-driven approach. In addition to looking at employees’ ages, you can also send out surveys to ask them about their preferred methods of communication, their career trajectory in the company, as well as their personal goals and ambitions. More often than not, the answers to these questions will point more to the differences in how each generation thinks.
Here are five generations to be aware of:
- Silent Generation/Traditionalists: Born before 1946, Traditionalists seek comfort and financial security, and are very traditional and loyal.
- Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers have a strong work ethic, and are focused and disciplined.
- Generation X: Born between 1965 and 1980, Gen X’ers are entrepreneurial, independent, and value a good work-life balance.
- Generation Y/Millennials: Born between 1981 and 1994, Millennials are confident, tech-savvy, and value a good work-life balance.
- Generation Z: Born after 1994, Gen Z’ers are the true digital natives, and are entrepreneurial, independent, and competitive.
Further reading: Discover how to attract and retain the newest generation!
2. Leave stereotyping at the door and encourage managers to do the same
We can’t help but engage in stereotyping – it’s human nature, after all. Older employees may subconsciously think of younger employees as entitled, job-hopping kids. On the other hand, younger employees may view older employees as inflexible and technophobes. These stereotypes can hamper the relationship between employees, leading to misunderstandings and even conflict – a nightmare for HR teams. What’s more, it’s also very much a detriment to the business outcome.
But it’s not as simple as saying: “don’t stereotype”. You’ll need to offer training programs for managers so that they can learn to recognize generational differences and adapt their managing style, as appropriate. Rather than focusing too much on the labels, move towards a more holistic approach, encouraging managers to get to know each employee on an individual basis. This will trickle down to employees, creating a workforce that’s more understanding of each other.
3. Consider team working as a way to achieve harmony in the workplace
As age is often a determinant of position in the company, you’ll more often than not find older employees working in higher positions, and younger employees working in entry level positions. Given the generational differences, coupled with a hierarchical structure, there can be a disconnect between the senior and junior employees. To combat this, encourage team working so that employees of different generations can openly and honestly share ideas and experiences.
By facilitating this exchange between employees of different generations, harmony in the workplace can be achieved, as employees begin understanding each other on a more nuanced level. Further to this, the new ideas that come from the collaboration could bring a wealth of opportunity to the company. Fresh, innovative thinking plus experience and wisdom? This is a classic example of the benefits of a multigenerational workforce, and one that you’ll soon be able to tap into.
4. Employees have a lot to learn from each other, so encourage cross-generational mentoring
Want to further tap into the benefits of a multigenerational workforce? Why not go further and introduce a cross-generational mentoring program? The different generations have a lot to learn from and offer each other, and reciprocal mentoring programs are a good way to facilitate that. Older employees can share organizational, sector, and industry knowledge with younger employees, while younger employees can help older employees use social media and digital tools.
When matching mentors and mentees, remember to consider the business objective as well. This will allow you to make matches that optimize the reaching of the business objective. What’s more, before leaving mentors and mentees to their own devices, make sure you provide specific guidance first. In the briefing session, participants should be reminded that they are mentors and mentees. This means they should spend roughly equal amounts of time talking as they do listening.
5. Employees are different. Personalization is key.
It’s crucial to bridge the generational gap at work. That being said, at the end of the day, employees of different generations are different. They’re at different stages in their life, have different needs and wants, as well as different goals and aspirations. They will increasingly desire personalization in their employee benefits offerings – one of the biggest multigenerational workforce challenges. Ultimately, HR managers will need to be flexible to the needs of the different generations.
Student loan benefits for Baby Boomers? Retirement planning for Gen Z’ers? Parental leave for the millennial that’s decided never to have kids? These are the dilemmas that many employers are now facing. As it’s impossible to satisfy all employees with standard, one-size-fits-all employee benefits, employers should consider offering flexible or flex benefits. Flex benefits allow employers to offer a variety of benefit options for employees to create a customized benefits plan.
Looking for an employee benefits specialist? Pacific Prime UK is a good bet
As a global insurance brokerage and employee benefits specialist, Pacific Prime UK has over two decades of experience helping companies of all sizes and industries design, implement, and manage tailored employee benefits solutions. Whether you’re looking for a group health insurance plan in the UK or any other employee benefits plan, we’re aware of the latest trends in the sector, and use cutting-edge technology to save your HR team valuable time, money, and stress.
To learn more about employee benefits or find out what we can do for you, please arrange a consultation with a member of our corporate team!
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