We are often faced with a barrage of information on millennials, and how to hire and retain them, but we don’t often hear about the benefits of having a multi-generational workplace. Some experts have identified five generations who can be found as part of the workplace – Traditionalists (born before 1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1996) and Generation Z (1997-present), and each of them has qualities that can benefit your organisation.
Traditionalists, sometimes referred to as the silent generation,are said to hold a strong work ethic and loyalty to their values.
Baby Boomers are known for their commitment to long work weeks and are confident and independent workers who are very goal orientated.
Generation X are often highly educated and tend to value freedom and responsibility in the workplace.
Millennials have a strong desire to progress with their career and see work/life balance as one of their key priorities.
Generation Z are said to be on a constant quest for self-improvement and are seeking careers with opportunities for development.
So, how do you go about attracting what seems to be 5 very different groups of people to your organisation? Surely what would attract a 23-year-old coder to come and work at your company won’t appeal to a 46-year-old managing director? Isn’t it the case that each generation has different attitudes to work, expectations of an employer, career paths and ideas around holidays and training and development?
The reality is that older generations may have more in common with younger generations when it comes to what they want from a job or career opportunity than we had anticipated.
A new study has revealed that both older generations and younger generations have the same engagement drivers – the desire to further personal growth, confidence in leadership and values aligning with those of the company. This discredits the school of thought that you have to alter your company culture in order to entice different generations of workers. The focus is less on dividing your employees by generations, and more on providing a workplace that sees your employees as people whose needs from their employer cohesive.
This said, how can you ensure you are catering for all of the generations mentioned?
Creating a culture where flexibility is available within roles to fit with employees’ lifestyles is crucial.Flexi-time is often heralded as a great way to do this, as it gives your employees autonomy over their working hours.
Providing opportunities for the future is also really important – research highlighted a desire for progression and development cross-generationally, so providing good opportunities will make you more appealing to work for.
Fostering an environment where employees feel like family – cared for, valued and supported will ensure that regardless of age, you are employer worth working for.
Even your choice of working environment can play a part – while certain generations might be more accustomed to working in a traditional office setup, others might prefer the flexibility of a coworking or shared office space. Shoreditch and other start up hubs have traditional been the home of the latter option, but even there more options are springing up. Spaces like Old Street’s Proper Office offer a range of business facilities and virtual office services, combined with the flexibility the area is more accustomed to.
Whether it comes down to workplace satisfaction or environment, understanding these fundamental drivers are key to attracting more than one generation to work at your company, and to becoming an employer with a great reputation.