In any organization, it can be challenging for people with different attitudes, skills, and beliefs to work together as a team. The problem becomes more apparent when such employees belong to multiple generations! Which is why, these days, handling a multigenerational workforce is something that most organizations worry about. Read on to understand such a workforce better and learn about ways in which you can recognize them and keep them engaged.
It refers to a workforce that comprises employees belonging to different generations. Thanks to the average increase in lifespan, people can now work well past their typical retirement age. As a result, an intern fresh out of college may have to work with a veteran who has decades of experience.
Does that sound fascinating to you? It is! But it comes with many challenges too.
Currently, five generations can be a part of the workforce.
Everything differentiates these generations, starting from their skills, work approach, and thoughts, to beliefs, priorities, and characteristics.
Some of the challenges you may face while managing a multigenerational workforce are:
So, should an organization stay away from multi generational management? Absolutely not! There are a lot of benefits of hiring people from different generations. Some of these are:
All that you need to do is learn how to manage a multigenerational workforce.
You have to start by accepting that there is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to employee engagement right now. Here are some engagement activities that may work in such a diverse workplace.
Instead of the older folks mentoring the younger ones, build a culture where people of different ages mentor each other. There is definitely something each of the generations can learn from one another. This can help beat the generational barriers too.
Some of your employees might be comfortable with a hierarchical management style and can easily accept instructions, while others might prefer working more independently. Is your leadership aware of such needs and flexible enough to treat employees the way they prefer? This is something to consider.
A common goal need not be a business goal. It can be anything that all the employees, irrespective of their generation, care about. This goal will keep the employees going, regardless of the other differences they may have. This is a very effective way of managing a multigenerational workforce.
You may be proud of your remote and hybrid work style. However, create opportunities for the team to come together and bond once in a while. It can be for a physical brainstorming session or a team lunch. This is where you will see each generation taking their respective roles – the baby boomers and veterans putting things in order, the Gen X people trying to make everyone comfortable and initiating conversations, and the others offering perspectives not thought of before!
Learning and development improves employee experience, betters skills, and brings down the turnover rate. However, the extent of L&D employees take up can vary based on their mindsets. Some people get better results from working practically instead of learning. It is especially true for the younger generations.
So, let your employees set their own L&D goals. Then, as the management, you need to provide them with the tools they need and stop at that.
Some people might prefer getting instructions from those above them at specified intervals and are more comfortable with formal communication processes. Others might listen more intently over a cup of coffee than in the meeting room. Logically, a multigenerational workforce requires a multigenerational communication process. The management and the leaders need to know what ticks and how things must be communicated.
About 78% of organizations in the United States say that they have a multigenerational workforce. Therefore it becomes essential for organizations to learn and recognize individual generations.
Why is it essential for practicing multi generational management?
No matter which generation an employee belongs to, recognition is something they look out for and genuinely desire. Employees who are better recognized treat their peers better and help improve the overall employee experience.
How does one recognize a multigenerational workforce? Start by knowing that recognition may mean different things to different people. The below strategies may help in establishing successful recognition practices.
The beauty of a multigenerational workforce is that there is so much every single person can learn from another. The fact that a 60-year-old and a 20-year-old can get excited and passionate about the same things is a wonderful feeling that companies have to cherish and encourage. Have different yardsticks in place when you plan employee recognition activities and take the time to compare and contrast each generation and understand what makes them tick.