When it comes to age, today’s workforce is more diverse than ever before. There are the Pre-Boomers, who are also known as the Silent Generation or Traditionalists (born between 1925 and 1945), Baby Boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, Gen X-ers (1965-1979), Millennials aka Gen Y (1980-1995) and now Gen Z, or those born after 1996, all working together. With it, each generation brings different qualities and expectations to the workplace.
Not only do these different generations need to be rewarded differently, but they also require different management styles and they like to be given feedback differently, too. Creating a successful multi-generational workplace takes understanding – and a sound employer branding strategy built to attract talent of different age groups and backgrounds.
The Benefits of a Multi-Generational Workforce
Diversity, whether cultural diversity, racial diversity, religious diversity, age diversity, sex/gender diversity, sexual orientation or disability, is a good thing. Specifically, a workforce made up of multiple generations brings with it the following benefits:
- Diversity of experience and thought. When you have people of different age groups working together, you benefit from the diversity of their experiences and thus the different way they think and interpret the world and work around them.
- Increased creativity. With a difference in age comes a difference in opinions and viewpoints, which naturally lends itself to more creativity. When people of different ages come together to collaborate on a project, for instance, the way they interpret deliverables and approach the project will be very different. As an organization, you will benefit from the creativity these differences spark.
- Dimension. The depth of a multi-generational workforce is immeasurable. Having people of different ages makes the workplace more dynamic, while also making the organization naturally more responsive and understanding to outside perspective. There is an inherent agility to a multi-generational workforce. Because an organization with multiple generations working for it is accustomed to accounting for people with differing views and experiences, they are more equipped to react accordingly.
- More people. An obvious benefit of a multi-generational workforce is that it is made up of more people. Rather than being limited to a certain age group, a multi-generational workforce is essentially bottomless. The applicant pool is deeper, which means the talent pipeline and community is also bigger.
How to Attract Multiple Generations
Each generation is motivated by different goals, and each has different expectations of employers and they’re drawn to different messaging. Brands today have the unique challenge of trying to speak to and attract multiple generations.
To ensure your organization is branding itself for multiple generations, consider these four brand elements:
- Communication. From the company careers page to website and blog – how are you describing yourself, and is your messaging tailored to all of the generations you’re trying to attract? For instance, using work-life balance to describe your work environment would be attractive to a Gen X-er, but Millennials connect with phrases like ‘living my best life’ and don’t necessarily believe in the notion of work-life balance. They want the work they do to be purposeful and therefore they strive less to strike a balance between their work life and their personal life. There are subtle nuances like this this that are important to take into consideration. If you have a multi-generational workforce already, it is worth it to include those varying viewpoints in branding discussions. How does your messaging sit with them?
- Culture. Is your work environment, people, behaviors, assumptions, beliefs and behaviors multi-generational? Having a highly social workforce complete with company-paid outings might be attractive to younger workers who do not have as many home or family obligations but that’s likely not as enticing to someone who is older or to someone with a young family. When branding your company culture, ensure you’re being representative of everyone’s values and priorities that you’re trying to attract.
- Values. Company mission and vision are not just for plaques to hang on the office wall. People are looking to connect with what you do and why, and each generation has different priorities when it comes to the values they prioritize. If family and benefits are shared values that are heavily branded, that will bode well for older people looking for those things at this stage in their life. For younger workers, global mission and purpose are important. Be authentic while also being inclusive.
- Platform. Where you communicate your brand is almost equally as important as how you are branding. Consider that older generations still consume print materials, like newspapers and ads placed on physical billboards or even bulletin boards in community centers. Phone calls are also a good way to communicate with this population. This, versus younger generations who do not typically take calls from phone numbers they do not have programmed into their cell phones, but they do respond to email, text messages and chatbots. Also consider how social media plays into your branding strategy. Different generations are on different platforms. Even the way in which you use the platform matters. For instance, gamification is a great engagement tool for most generations as it combines completing a task while collaborating and competing.
The Last Word on Multi-Generational Employer Branding
The value of employer branding when positioning your company to attract multiple generations is highly influential, and there are a lot of decisions to be made to ensure inclusivity. Tap into the differing perspectives of your current workforce when developing your employer branding strategy. To ensure you’re hitting the right notes with the people you’re trying to attract, it’s also important to be prepared to test and to modify your approach, as needed. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you have people of different ages vying to join your organization.
A multi-generational workforce is transformative, skilled and uniquely powerful. It’s like the swiss army knife of workforces. Where one age group may be weak, another brings strong perspective and experience. Building a strategy to attract people of different ages is not always easy, but it is worth it. The results will vary but will surely include positive impacts to the bottom line, your culture will benefit and so, too, will the output – the products and services – of your company.