Today’s multi-generational workforce is a pretty big topic as of late. And by multi-generational we mean that, for the first time in history, four generations are now working alongside one another.
-Traditionalists (Born 1925-1945)
-Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964)
-Gen X (Born 1965-1979)
-Gen Y (Born 1980-2000)
And Gen Z is also about to make its debut into the American workforce, but for now we’ll focus on the current four.
A variety of generations brings a variety of ages, backgrounds, ideas, perspectives and experiences. What might work for a Traditionalist in the workplace may not appeal to a Millennial (Gen Y), and how a company recruits a Baby Boomer may not go so well when trying to recruit someone from Generation X.
It’s very easy to see how the mixture of generations can cause disruption in the workplace. Is there anything employers can do to ensure a smooth and efficient integration of multi-generational workers into their businesses?
Well, the folks at Accounting Principals have a few suggestions. The accounting, finance, and banking professionals recruitment firm recently created a whitepaper, “Generation Optimization: Strategies for Recruiting, Retaining and Inspiring a Multi-generational Workforce” where it offers insights into the makeup of each generation and ways to recruit, retain and inspire workers from each group.
The paper explains that if a company desires to succeed, all generations must coexist productively. The key for employers to successfully deal with a multi-generational workforce is understanding the needs and expectations of each generation in order to leverage the combined potential of the group, the paper says.
“Understanding the different motivators between each generational workforce is a great place to start, but may not go far enough. To retain skilled talent, you want to create a culture that addresses their unique and specific drivers,” Jodi Chavez, Senior Vice President, Accounting Principals, said. “Investing time in creating a workplace that addresses what’s important to each generation can have a positive impact on retention and the financial performance of an organization.”
The paper explains how companies should capitalize on the experience, knowledge and skills from employees in each generation to help them successfully manage a multi-generational workforce.
For example, the whitepaper says that Traditionalist are committed and responsible while Gen Xers desire instant gratification. Keep these characteristics in mind when managing your teams by assigning Gen Xers tasks with quick deadlines where they can see immediate results and assigning the Traditionalists with longer, spaced out projects that require attention to detail.
And consider each generation’s background when it comes to recruitment, retention and employee engagement.
Traditionalists: The whitepaper reveals that Traditionalists are less likely to use technology, so stick to newspaper ads or good old-fashioned referrals when it comes to recruiting this group.
Baby Boomers: Referrals and telephone/sourcing appeal to this group. Recruiters will also find them on job boards and LinkedIn. Keep in mind though that workers from this group are reluctant to relocate, so offers with financial security, retirement options and health incentives help attract Boomers.
Gen X: Focus on your company image when recruiting from this group, the paper suggests. Boomers want a stable company that aligns with their beliefs and philosophies.
Millennials: Make sure you have a tech-oriented website for Gen Y workers as they apply online, and offering feedback (even if they aren’t the right candidate) is a must.
Traditionalists: This “Silent Generation” values respect. They typically remain with one company throughout their working careers. Give Traditionalists respect and retention shouldn’t be an issue.
Baby Boomers: The paper says that “job autonomy is directly tied to Baby Boomer job satisfaction.” It suggests employers offer these employees short-term financial rewards and incentives, part- or full-time work (depending on their needs) and the opportunity to mentor younger workers.
Gen X: Due to family commitments, this group values flexible schedules as well as financial stability. Offering team-building exercises to strengthen the family atmosphere and small rewards in the form of stress-relieving perks will help attract talented Gen Xers.
Millennials: Members of this group want excitement and new experiences along with the chance to prove themselves. Short-term rewards, ample feedback, recognition, training and mentoring will help nab these talented workers.
To discover ways to inspire today’s multi-generational workforce and receive advice on how to maximize the productivity, loyalty and unity of these workers, check out for part 2 of this article.