With the globalization of work and evolving workforce, diversity in the workplace has become a growing business and social responsibility of organizations.
One important pillar of organizational diversity is the collaboration of four different age groups — Baby Boomers, GenX-ers, Millennials, and GenZ-ers.
This varied workforce gives organizations new opportunities for building a sustainable pipeline of talents composed of competitive individuals with a wide array of skills and priorities, and unique working styles.
Breaking down the generations
As differences possibly bring out, conflicts can be in the way of fully realizing the benefits of generational diversity. With very distinct characteristics, what are the possible workplace challenges a generationally diverse team may experience?
One challenge is interpersonal issues among age groups due to a lack of rapport. In fact, an article from Harver affirms that employees who are decades apart in terms of age experience a hard time getting along — leading to reduced employee engagement and decreased productivity.
Employees across generations also have different preferences when it comes to their working approach and communication styles. For instance, baby boomers willingly use technology for productivity purposes but prefer to communicate face-to-face, while younger generations embrace digital communication through instant messaging.
Reaping the full benefits of generational diversity
By following a few best practices, HR and business can get ahead of any potential problems that may breed along the way:
Avoid age-based assumptions and stereotyping
Instead of making false assumptions about the needs of employees, HR leaders should consider listening to each of them. Openly talking about stereotypes and meta-stereotypes is a great first step to eliminating generational divides. This will streamline communication and allow generations to work together more efficiently.
Another strategy business leaders can do which are proven effective by most managers is emphasizing shared goals, according to Harvard Business Review.
Refine and customize an approach for each employee
Rather than generalizing and treating everyone the same, employers should consider taking a custom approach to each employee. Organizations must be able to create ‘personalized’ experiences for high potential employees of every generation and more career development opportunities for them to experience new contexts.
Customizing approach and tailoring communication style to each talent can result in an improved working relationship among generations and easier delivery of effective, meaningful feedback.
Reorganize the HR management process
- Recruiting strategies
To benefit from generational diversity, recruiters should craft messages that are appealing to a diverse pool of candidates while being cautious of formulating age-discriminating content.
- Retention Rate
Re-establishing a more solid employee retention program addresses the pain points that cause employees to jump ship. The most effective strategy for retaining talent despite cross-generational conflict include fostering teamwork, improving communication, and building a strong mentorship program.
While managing such an age-diverse workforce is certainly not without its challenges, there are advantages to multigenerational teams if the aforementioned practices are employed.
Averting generational stereotypes, implementing custom approaches, and restructuring HR management allows organizations to leverage the benefits of a generationally diversified workforce.
Discover more of the right strategies and solutions in gaining assets from a multi-generational workforce at the 6th HR Leaders Asia happening on May 6, 2020, in Manila, Philippines.