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Bridging the Gap: How to Manage a Multigenerational Workforce

Generations in the workplace

Today’s workplaces are filled with a diverse mix of generations, each with its own values and motivations. From the experienced Silent Generation to the tech-savvy Generation Z, it’s crucial to navigate these differences to foster a collaborative and productive environment.

Even the way employees express frustration with work is changing. Take ‘QuitTok’ for example, a social media trend where frustrated employees (often Gen Z) document their resignations, highlighting the changing work landscape where transparency and feeling valued are increasingly important.

What are the 5 generations in the workplace?

  1. Silent Generation (Traditionalists): Born between 1928-1945 (though the youngest are in their late 70s, some may remain in the workforce)
  2. Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964
  3. Generation X: Born between 1965 and 1980
  4. Millennials: Born between 1981 and 2000
  5. Generation Z: Born between 2001 and 2020
     

How to motivate different generations in the workplace

Motivating a multigenerational workforce requires an in-depth understanding of what drives each generation. Here is a general breakdown of some key motivators and strategies to consider:


Silent Generation (Traditionalists)

Motivators: Stability, security, recognition of experience, meaningful work that contributes to the bigger picture. 
Strategies: Offer opportunities to mentor younger employees, publicly acknowledge their achievements, Set out clear objectives and performance expectations.


Baby Boomers

Motivators: Work-life balance, competitive opportunities, feeling valued and respected, contributing to a legacy.
Strategies: Offer flexible working arrangements, create opportunities for professional development, celebrate team achievements, involve them in strategic planning. 


Generation X

Motivators: Autonomy, work-life balance, clear goals and expectations, a sense of accomplishment.
Strategies: Delegate tasks and empower decision-making, provide clear feedback and performance reviews, offer opportunities for professional development in their area of expertise.


Millennials:

Motivators: Purpose-driven work, a sense of belonging and collaboration, opportunities for learning and growth, feedback and recognition. 
Strategies: Offer opportunities to work on projects with a social impact, create a collaborative work environment, provide regular feedback and coaching, invest in professional development opportunities. 


Generation Z:

Motivators: Work-life balance, flexibility, authenticity and transparency, a fast-paced and stimulating work environment.
Strategies: Offer flexible working arrangements, prioritise remote work options, create a culture of open communication, provide opportunities for rapid skill development through challenges and projects. 
 

How to manage different generations in the workplace

  • Embrace Diversity: View generational differences as strengths, not challenges.
  • Tailored Communication: Use a variety of communication methods (email, meetings, instant messaging) to cater to different preferences.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Offer options like remote work, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks to accommodate various needs.
  • Recognition and Feedback: Recognise achievements publicly for older generations, and provide frequent, specific feedback for younger generations.
  • Professional Development: Invest in training and development opportunities that cater to different learning styles and career goals.
  • Mentorship Programs: Pair experienced employees with younger generations to encourage knowledge sharing and relationship building.
  • Open Communication: Encourage open communication about work styles, needs, and preferences.
Remember: Stereotypes don’t define individuals. Get to know your employees and their work preferences. 
 

Listen to our podcast

Tune into our Recruitment and Beyond Podcast as Natalie from Beyond HR and Ewan from Eden Scott chat about all things multigenerational workforces. Learn how to manage different preferences, bridge the communication gap, and create a thriving workplace for everyone.
 

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