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Understanding the Multigenerational Workforce: 8 Key Advantages

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Managing a cross-generational workforce is a huge advantage in meeting modern DEIB standards. That's because it lays the foundation for inclusivity by working with a common factor in almost every social situation - age.

Each generation has a different approach to interpreting questions and solving problems. A company with a multi-generational workforce understands this concept and provides a multi-age environment where different perspectives and experiences are leveraged to promote organizational excellence.

What is a multigenerational workforce?

To better understand this, let’s first break down what we mean by a multigenerational workforce. It is a company that hires and supports employees of all ages.

For this to work, the company must have a deep understanding of each age group - what is important to them, what they worry about and what motivates them.

The current workforce is made up of four major demographic groups of employees:

  • Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964)
  • Generation X (born between 1965-1980)
  • Generation Y/Millennials (born between 1981-1996)
  • Generation Z (born between 1997-2012)

So each group of employees brings something special to the workplace based on their different life experiences. These experiences are influenced by the time in which they live and also by the jobs they have had. Now let's look at the specific characteristics that experts have noted in each generation.

Baby Boomers

People in this group value hard work and are very dedicated and loyal to their workplace. Therefore, baby boomers generally want to stay in one job for a long time. They also think a lot about their retirement planning, financial security and insurance as part of their plans for life after work.

Generation X

Generation X workers highly value creativity and ingenuity. They like to think independently and consider their own goals while helping the company. Generation X therefore wants regular feedback in order to improve in their job. Plus, they're always looking for ways to learn and improve their chances.

Generation Y/Millennials

Currently, about 35% of the U.S. workforce are Millennials. Studies suggest they will make up 75% of the talent pool in the next five years. Millennials value a balance between work and private life. They also want jobs with a clear purpose, not just the paycheck.

These employees thrive in results-oriented work environments and leverage technological innovations to improve company flexibility and performance.

Generation Z

Although Generation Z, who have grown up with digital technology, usually prefer online communication, they sometimes also opt for the old method of talking face to face or talking on the phone. This is because they know that online messages can be unclear and can lead to misunderstandings or conflicts.

Generation Z workers value social and corporate responsibility more than salary and employee incentives. Therefore, Generation Z is looking for companies with a corporate culture that values inclusion and age diversity.

Benefits of a cross-generational workforce

A mix of different age groups in your workforce is not only good for doing your job better and achieving more. It also means you have many different viewpoints that can work well together in your company. So ultimately this can have a really positive impact on your overall success.

Openness strengthens communication and helps people understand and respect each other better. So these are the big advantages of having a mixed age structure in your workforce. It will also make your work environment even better.

1.Balanced “Frequencies”

A mixed age structure in the workplace promotes communication and collaboration in many ways. For example, older employees can bring in their many years of experience and help with projects. Younger employees, in turn, bring fresh ideas to speed things up.

An inclusive workplace can lead to interesting connections, such as: Reverse mentoring. This means that people from different generations share their knowledge. This way, younger employees can contribute their insights. And it also encourages more experienced team members to continue learning and developing.

Essentially, offering reverse mentoring within your company fosters a collaborative environment that attracts applicants from different generations.

Older employees can learn from younger team members about the latest social media and technology trends to make work more efficient. At the same time, these experienced individuals can share a number of practical industry tips they have learned over the years to help younger generations avoid mistakes at work.

2.Better problem solving

Having people of different ages in your company can provide variety and strengthen your knowledge pool. In a multi-generational workplace, the usual organization and meeting methods change, eliminating unproductive meetings where employees feel like they are not communicating with each other.

Additionally, better communication leads to more feedback loops, which are very helpful in solving problems. Workplace leaders improve problem solving by recognizing the ideas of employees of all experience levels. In this way, the work
environment becomes more inclusive.

For example: Have meetings where everyone can give feedback. It's also smart to say thank you and acknowledge ideas from people of all ages. This ensures everyone understands what is expected and stays focused and involved during the meeting.

Therese Miclot, Executive Presence Coach, says: "Bring in as much as you consume. The best experiences are those where we learn from each other. Acknowledge the wisdom in the 'room' and set the tone for it It is each individual's job to offer insights, ideas and questions, just as it is their job to learn."

3.Greater creativity

As problem solving improves, solutions come faster and there is more creativity and innovation. So having a mix of talent from different generations on your team can give your company a competitive advantage in the harsh digital world.

Studies show that 85% of companies come up with new and clever ideas because they have a team of people of different ages. So if your workplace has people of all ages working, this is an ideal place to generate spontaneous ideas. These ideas can then help find bugs, gaps in the market and new opportunities.

4.Improved adaptability

Adaptability is very important in today's fast-paced working world. This skill helps workers change the way they work when industry trends, the market, or unexpected global situations change.

A mix of ages in your team promotes adaptability. This positive culture leads to constant innovation and different perspectives, which are great for tackling difficult challenges at work. Through the diversity of skills and regular knowledge exchange, your company remains strong and prepared for unexpected situations.

5.Smooth knowledge transfer and continuity

Efficient knowledge transfer is essential for company succession and long-term company success. Managing a multigenerational workforce optimizes internal training, promotions and hiring initiatives.

For example, when older employees mentor younger team members, they can pass on important know-how and experience to the company and thus retain important skills even after they leave the company. This way, your company retains its top talent without spending a lot of money on hiring and training new employees who may not be the right fit for the job.

Having people of different ages in your workforce is very important to ensure that your company remains productive even when there is a talent turnover. So, this mix of talent will help ensure your company's longevity by protecting important knowledge and company history.

6.Access to wider talent pool

An industry survey of 40,077 employers in 41 countries found that 75% of companies are struggling to fill open positions. These issues occur across a variety of industries, including information technology, healthcare and life sciences, and consumer goods and services.

The talent shortage has continued even after the widespread resignation and quiet layoffs affecting an estimated 50% of the U.S. workforce due to job dissatisfaction.

According to Gallup, only 32% of employees feel truly engaged and interested in their work. On the other hand, 18% are not actively engaged. And these people may also start looking for better job opportunities elsewhere and become passive job seekers.

When people are dissatisfied at work, it is often because there are problems with communication from managers. A mixed age structure in the workplace can therefore create an inclusive culture that welcomes different viewpoints and ways of working at all levels. This can also lead to smoother communication and help teams feel more connected.

Including people of different ages in your job description is a great way to improve your DEIB efforts. By focusing on skills and making a clear diversity statement that welcomes everyone, regardless of age, you can attract more qualified applicants.

7.Higher customer satisfaction

With a multi-generational workforce, B2C organizations could see an increase in customer satisfaction scores. Company representatives of any age group can optimize customer engagement strategies (based on interests and experiences at similar life stages) for customers in their age group.

Essentially, a customer service team with employees of different ages can make your business strategy better. This allows them to adapt the messages and the way they speak to customers to suit the preferences and interests of each generation.

8.Stronger relationships at work

A workplace with people of different ages promotes a good social structure. It also makes it easier for everyone to be open and understand each other. This improves communication in several ways.

Having team members from multiple generations can also reflect the relationships of a healthy family. This provides emotional support and help that improves mood and workplace performance, which in turn increases employee engagement, retention and satisfaction.

How to foster a multigenerational workforce

While multi-generational workplaces come with many benefits, they also present some challenges and considerations. Therefore, it is important to reduce tensions between differences in communication between generations in order to promote a harmonious environment of respect and interdependence.

The first step to managing a multigenerational workforce is understanding the unique career priorities of each demographic and tailoring organizational engagement to meet those needs.

It's also important to address the stereotypes, unique perspectives, and unconscious biases that exist in a diverse workforce. For example, you could organize informal events outside of the office to discuss individual concerns and keep interpersonal dynamics open.

You can further increase the happiness and success of your multigenerational workforce with the following workplace practices.

Clarify the preferred communication styles in a cross-generational workforce

People of different generations communicate differently depending on their upbringing, professional background, and social experiences. So instead of guessing, it's helpful to know and understand each team member's preferred way of communicating.

For example, 65% of Generation Z prefer text messages and emails because of their speed and efficiency. Baby boomers and Generation X, on the other hand, prefer more conventional forms of communication for reasons of professionalism.

As a remedy, you could use different types of workplace communication depending on the purpose of the message. This includes text messages for quick service updates and phone calls for developing long-term customer relationships.

Provide appropriate learning opportunities for a cross-generational staff

The World Economic Forum has reported that more than half of the workforce will need to be retrained by 2025 to remain relevant in the workforce. Therefore, employees need to be adequately trained to meet changing social and industrial needs and new technologies.

To attract and retain a team of people of different ages, your company can create a learning environment that accommodates diverse perspectives. Therefore, you should focus your training on important soft skills such as critical thinking and collaboration that promote continuous learning.

A solid training strategy can help increase the long-term job satisfaction of a cross-age team and prepare them for future goals.

Fine-tuning hiring and recruitment Campaigns for a multigenerational workforce

Your JD content determines the quality of your hires in today's workplace. IceHrm's dedicated Text Analyzer program helps you eliminate inherent biases like ageism to diversify your talent pool. Cases of age discrimination can involve subtleties that go unnoticed, such as specifying the years of experience required for a position, which could deter younger applicants.

Additionally, our unique text analyzer platform helps craft your job ads to capture the attention of target demographics. The program's reliable AI algorithms ensure that the same comprehensive "linguistic rules" are applied consistently, whether you're editing 100 or 1,000 descriptions across multiple job sites.

With Text Analyzer by your side, you can keep your JD libraries up to date and in line with the latest DEIB standards.

Managing a multigenerational workforce unlocks innovation and inclusivity. IceHrm's Text Analyzer ensures unbiased hiring practices for diverse teams.

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