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Creating a Successful Multi-Generational Workplace

According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials account for more than half of all employees in the U.S., and they will comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. This, coupled with the fact that Baby Boomers are working longer and Gen Z is now starting to enter the workforce, and we now have one of the most diverse generational workforces, ever.

So, how can employers attract – and retain – multiple generations to their workplace?

Here are 3 big tips to try:

  1. Know YOUR People, Not Just the Trends. External research empowers companies with data and information, but that only gets you so far. It is equally as important to understand your employees and what their preferences and expectations are. Plus, not everything you read about is true. For instance, early on, Millennials were classified as lazy and entitled workers, when in reality we know them to be thoughtful, motivated to do meaningful work and committed to causes – not just a paycheck. Take the time to really get to know your employees – survey them, put processes in place that gather their opinions – and create a career journey that is motivating and full of the challenges and opportunities they’re looking for.
  2. Foster Collaboration and Communication. Collaborative technologies, like Slack, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams, come second nature to some employees, but not all. Baby Boomers, for instance, may still prefer phone calls and email over texting and messaging apps. When new teams are built, determine everyone’s preferred mode of communication. Take the guess work and assumption out of it and build a collaborative team environment that plays to everyone’s strengths, including how they communicate best with one another.
  3. Prepare Your Workplace for Different Work Styles. Similarly, not everyone works the same. Millennials and Gen Z are more familiar with flexible work hours, telecommuting and open workspaces but older generations in your workplace might be more comfortable and familiar with offices or individual cubicles. On top of different physical working styles, Baby Boomers are also more traditional in the way they take work on – working long hours to get something done with little collaboration – while later generations are used to regular feedback and working in teams. Know your employees’ preferences and create a workplace conducive to the variation that undoubtedly exists.

While you build a workplace that attracts the type of talent you’re looking for, keep in mind your employer brand – be authentic and true to your company’s mission, vision and values. It does no one any good to be recruited into a company that ultimately can’t deliver on the candidate experience displayed during the interviewing and pre-boarding stage. Be inclusive and mindful while also being genuine and transparent.

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