With the age of the workforce growing broader, making sure it is managed correctly is of the utmost importance. More and more people are choosing to stay on past retirement age, and many school leavers are opting not to go to university and are instead turning to full-time employment. That’s not only a big age gap, but a social, experiential gap too.

What Is a Multigenerational Workforce?

To put it simply, a miltigenerational workforce is a term used to describe a workplace where people  from multiple generations work alongside each other. Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Zs are under the same roof, and may in some cases be managed by the same people. While there are undoubtedly some similarities, it is their differences that must be most carefully managed in order to create an effective, and ultimately beneficial, working environment.

  • Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964): Baby boomers are part of the post-World War II population boom and have been a significant part of the workforce for several decades.
  • Generation Xers (Born 1965-1980): Gen Xers grew up in the era of social and political changes, including the Cold War and the advent of personal computers.
  • Millennials (Born 1981-1996): Millennials witnessed the rise of the internet and digital technology and are often known as being ‘tech-savvy’.
  • Generation Zers (Born 1997-Present): Gen Zers have grown up with smartphones, social media, and instant access to information, and are the youngest generation in the workforce.
Understanding a Multi-Generational Workforce
We’ve taken a look at what these different generations have in common, what sets them apart, and how a broad church of employees can benefit your business.

What Brings Them Together?

Regardless of their age or generation, each employee brings a unique skillset to their role, and everyone is seeking success. They will also have similar values when it comes to job satisfaction, whether that be the respect they have for the colleagues and management teams, the fairness they expect in their pay, the gratification of having hard work recognised or seeking a bit of flexibility in their role.

But just as every person is different, each team is different. Managers should take the time to work out what their teams shared values are and use them as a basis for communication and collaboration.

What Sets Them Apart?

The most significant, and widely reported, generational differences are marked in the approach people take to their work. This considers technology, and how baby boomers are most likely to be accustomed with more manual systems while Gen Zs almost expect a degree of computational assistance, but it also considers attitudes towards employment such as job loyalty.

Baby Boomers weren’t, and still aren’t, job-hoppers. The average tenure in a role far exceeds that being demonstrated by the younger generation of today – and that isn’t to say one’s right and one is wrong, as both approaches have their benefits. Baby Boomers want stability and security in their role, whereas Millennials and Gen Z are seeking flexibility and progression opportunities.

Understanding a Multi-Generational Workforce
If those needs aren’t met for millenials and gen zers, they’ll happily head elsewhere.

How To Manage a Multigenerational Workforce

The key to successful management of a multi-generational workforce is understanding each generation’s strengths, and deciphering where their weakness can be supported by the strengths of others.

With the wisdom and experience of Baby Boomers, the problem-solving skills of Gen Xers, the technology-focussed approached of Millennials and the fresh insights of Gen Zs, businesses will have all bases covered and open up a huge array of opportunities.

Understanding a Multi-Generational Workforce
By recognising the similarities while respecting their differences, managers can foster an environment where everyone feels valued, and the business will be better for it.

The Benefits of a Multigenerational Workforce

A multigenerational workforce can bring a diverse range of experiences, perspectives, and work styles to a business as each generation will have its own values, communication preferences, and expectations regarding work, career advancement, and work-life balance.

Here are some more key benefits of a multigenerational workforce:

  • Improved decision making – A variety of viewpoints and experiences can lead to more well-informed and balanced decision-making processes. This can massively reduce the risk of groupthink and improve the quality of decisions.
  • Improved recruitment – Businesses that actively hire and retain employees from a variety of generations may have a competitive advantage in attracting the top talent. Prospective employees often seek workplaces that value diversity and inclusivity.
  • Knowlegde transfer to younger colleagues – A multigenerational workforce means that, often older employees serve as valuable mentors to younger colleagues, passing down their knowledge and expertise.
  • Better adaptability – Typically, a multigenerational workforce is more adaptable to change. This is because younger workers are generally more comfortable with technology and can help older employees adapt to new tools and systems, while older employees can offer stability and guidance during times of transition.

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of a multigenerational workforce and how you could best manage it.  For more top tips, check out our recruitment blog.

We are a talent recruitment agency who take pride in our ability to deliver the right person into a diverse range of industries. At Faulkner Scott we work closely with you to understand your specific requirements and find the talent that will help your business thrive.

Contact us today to see how we can help you create and manage a thriving multigenerational workforce.