For the first time we have four generations working side by side.
Baby Boomers, Millennials, Generation X and Generation Z are now working together.
We’re living and working longer. Baby Boomers still want to work. Millennials and Generation-Xers will be the leaders of businesses within the next few years.
But it is worthwhile for businesses to manage such a diverse group.
A workforce composed of different ages creates an environment where each generation brings different skills, experiences and talents to the table. It provides a larger spectrum of knowledge, values, and preferences. It can boost creativity and innovation, help customer focus, and promote employee morale.
Diversity gives businesses the advantage of communicating and dealing with customers across all ages. With the changing dynamics of customers, a diverse age range of employees is a key growth strategy. Different generations of customers offer a variety of growth potential and opportunities.
However, some employers can be reluctant to manage an age diverse business.
Differing work values and expectations between generations can create management and intergenerational conflicts. Employees with different generations may struggle to communicate and understand one another.
Each person’s background and age can predispose them to certain prejudices. And although a diverse group of opinions and perspectives is generally positive in a constructive workplace, it can contribute to a hostile work environment.
“Diversity gives businesses the advantage of communicating and dealing with customers across all ages. With the changing dynamics of customers, a diverse age range of employees is a key growth strategy”
Tips for managing an age-diverse business
Below are some ideas to manage a diverse age workforce and garner its rewards.
Different generations can have different communication styles and norms, sometimes resulting in misunderstandings. Agreeing on how the multigenerational workforce communicates and conducts itself can be paramount. Having diverse teams discuss and provide a lexicon of how they wish to communicate and by which method.
It may seem an aberration to Baby Boomers, but most Millennials want to collaborate with colleagues on their mobile devices - 90% felt mobile messaging to be an effective way to communicate at work. The agreed communication manifesto will become part of the business’s culture.
Teamwork between the ages is vital. It's a good idea to form teams of employees from diverse age groups and make their performances dependent on one another. The team must agree on the collegial goal and the ultimate output through mutual efforts.
Studies show the results of these teams' efforts have been very positive. Ensure you celebrate the success of the team with the greater business. It goes a long way to demonstrate how age-diverse businesses positively work.
Organise opportunities for employees of different ages to bond and socialise, such as lunches or social outings can help create a friendly and enjoyable work environment. It’s a great way for employees to get to know each other.
There are likely to be some conflicts. Managers need to address them quickly and effectively, so that they don’t gain momentum.
Discussions with the conflicting employees in an environment and culture of mutual trust and teamwork can often be solved easily. It’s just a matter of ensuring the groundwork of a positive collegiate environment exists in this age-diverse business.
Age diversity will become increasingly important to businesses over the next few years.
Businesses should put in place practices and policies designed to attract, engage, and retain talented mature workers alongside younger workers.
The result can help businesses to thrive.
What generation do you belong to?
Baby Boomers: born 1946 to 1964
The baby boomer generation began after World War II. Boomers are now in their late 50s to early 70s.
Generation X: born 1965 to 1980
With a decline in birth rates in 1965 came Generation X. It’s also called the “baby bust” because of its smaller post-boom numbers.
Xennials: born 1977 to 1983
Squeezed in next was a “micro-generation” Xennials had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood.
Millennials: born 1981 to 1996
This large and dominant segmentphic is well into adulthood. Millennials are also called Generation Y for following Generation X.
Generation Z: born 1997 or after
Then came Gen Z, or iGen, which roughly starts with people born in 1997.
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