There are many factors currently influencing the workplace
but there is no arguing that it is an ever-changing environment. Today, many
people are living much longer, which means you have employees in the work place
that often times stay on after traditional retirement age of 65. The way
organizations function and interact are changing fast and this is mostly
attributed to a younger generation that is joining the workforce with different
values and opinions. At this point in time, there are four generations that are
active in our workforce, and there's little doubt that having that wide an age
range in any organization is bound to come with challenges.
Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Centennials: they all
seem to want something different. Boomers are very loyal employees, they love
the social interaction at work, will work long hours and are willing to invest
time in working their way up the corporate hierarchy. Gen Xers think that
boomers are crazy to work so hard, and are so much more sceptical about life in
general. They are committed to do a good job, but find it important to go home
at night and have a life. Millennials — are extremely impatient; if they're not
happy, they won't work through it: they just leave. Centennials is a new breed
of young worker that distinctly values independence and individuality. How are
you supposed to pull all these people into a team and get them to work well
together? Here are some tips:
Mentoring & Learning:
Learning and development matters to everyone, regardless of age or life stage.
Overall the older generation tend
to still prefer the more traditional forms of training, either from a handbook
or presentation. The younger generations are much more comfortable with
technology in their everyday life and therefore attracted to learning
environments that utilizes interactive technology.
Each generation have a different strength, experience and knowledge they can
offer. It’s important to encourage each generation to mentor the other.
Inclusion helps to use those differences as leverage to maximize results. In
addition, most employees’ value being included versus excluded. Inclusion
equals teamwork. Teamwork leads to achieving results faster.
The differences in work life balance
Generations have a different
perspective on what constitutes work life balance. Many baby boomers
consider traditional company hours for purely business activities and find it
unprofessional to take time off for handling personal business during this
time. As a result, this generation don’t value things like flexi-time and
alternative schedules very highly. In fact, they are of the opinion the more
time spent in the office the more successful you will be in climbing the
On the other hand, both Gen X and Gen Y yearn for better
work-life balance to attend to family or pursue own interest. Generation Y
relate to balance in terms of not necessarily working less but rather working
differently, more flexibly. Millennials want to be able to work hard and have a
life at the same time. Flexibility really is a foundational item for them, not
just a 'nice to have’.
As managers it’s important to understand the difference in
perspective in order to provide the right motivation for each generation if you
want to retain your talent.
For Baby Boomers it’s important to feel in control, they want effective
feedback as this helps them feel more in control in terms of what they
work on and how they work on it. They also desire public recognition for
a job well done, and like to receive it from management or even peers.
Gen-Xers are motivated more by how their actions contribute
to the organization’s success. For them it’s important that feedback should
include how their individual progress impacts the company and its achievements.
More than any other generation, millennials crave positive
reinforcement and seek to validate their value to an organization. To address
these needs, provide daily acknowledgement of their contributions or redirect
them immediately if they need to do something different.
Each generation brings to the office unique strengths, knowledge and even
challenges, such as a preferred communication style, desired benefits or how
they like to be motivated and managed. These differences can be an asset if
managed correctly, but they also can lead to misunderstanding, conflict and
miscommunication. Understanding the differences will go a long way in ensuring
your multi-generational teams are working together productively and
Communicate Recruitment is a specialized recruitment
agency with years of experience in the Finance, IT, Engineering and Supply
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screening, and matching of candidate to ensure you find the right fit for your
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