“The value of a diverse team is its capacity to challenge the norm or group think and thus boost organizational performance and improve decision-making.”
Diversity in the workplace is a topic that has been covered in many different ways, and by now, we are all aware that this includes race, gender, religion, age, and culture. But, have we stopped to consider the effect a multi-generational (not just age but also the generation and cultural factors involved with a certain time period) workforce can have on an organization? Not only does it bring innovation and collaboration to the forefront, it also allows for growth on an individual, team, and corporate level. Here are a few ways that hiring a multi-generational workforce can help you. But first, let’s define our generations currently in the workforce in 2016!
Millennials (ages 19 – 34)
Generation X (ages 35 – 55)
Baby Boomers (ages 56 – 69)
The Silent Generation (ages 70+)
So now that we know who is working with us, let’s take a closer look at what some of these generations bring to the conference table. Of course, these are all generalizations to give you an idea of what you may be working with. Not everyone in these age groups will fall into these categories, but these broad concepts can give you a better glimpse into your workforce, and allows you to rethink your recruitment strategy to include a multi-generational workforce for various reasons, some of which are listed here.
1. Millennials are tech junkies. They’ve been raised in a world of technology, and are used to having computers, tablets, phones, and other devices at their fingertips. One of their biggest strengths – multi-tasking!
2. Generation X makes up approximately 60% of today’s workforce. X’ers grew up with the beginning of the computer technology craze, so they are able to blend in with their millennial counterparts when it comes to technology. They can adapt to new technology, and at the same time, can struggle with the constant influx of new ways to do things. They are in limbo, right between their millennial and baby boomer colleagues, so they can act as a “meet in the middle” balance when it comes to team work and collaborative efforts.
3. Baby Boomers are the seasoned employees with tons of industry knowledge, customer contacts, and offer stability and a well-oiled machine aspect to your team. Although there may still be a few Silent Generation employees in your organization (probably the owner, CEO, or another long-term employee/leader), the Baby Boomers make up the majority of the older group represented in your workforce today. Baby Boomers may have an appreciation for older ways of doing things, and may respond to a certain group of customers, clients, etc. because of their experience and seasoned approach to doing things.
4. Working together – having these three generations working on a project as a team can definitely lead to some conflict, in that they approach the issue differently, but it can also lead to a beautifully balanced product because of their differences. By bringing employees out of their comfort zone and requiring teams to be comprised of multi-generational workers, they will benefit from each other in unimaginable ways!
Working collaboratively will sometimes prove to be a challenge, but having members of the multi-generational workforce join strengths and take on a project will not only allow for cross-training, learning, and growing on a personal level it will also boost your team morale in unimaginable ways! The younger generation can surely learn a thing or two from the baby boomers currently running the show in many organizations. Likewise, the baby boomers could learn some techy tricks and new ways to approach obstacles from their younger counterparts in Generation X and the Millennials. A multi-generational workforce will lead to changes in your organization, but the output will be so worth it. Give it a shot, and report back to us, we’d love to hear your story!