Smart Staffing Series: Employing a Multigenerational Workforce

July 15, 2019

Continuing PTC’s “Smart Staffing” blogging series, in which we aim to provide you the insider knowledge that can help you build and manage your team most effectively, there is a timely issue that many managers are facing and not necessarily prepared for: managing various generations within your company. As average retirement ages are pushed back, there are growing numbers of older workers in the workforce, while the youngest generation is now entering the workforce, meaning you may find yourself managing four different generations at once. Learn more about the best practices for employing a multigenerational workforce:

Baby Boomers – Born between 1946 – 1964

  • Preferred training methods – Baby boomers who have been in the workforce may prefer a more traditional approach, like books or a presentation from a speaker.
  • Preferred communication style – This generation tends to prefer face-to-face meetings or phone calls, rather than email.
  • Prepare for their approaching retirement – Sixty-three percent plan to work at least part time in retirement, according to an AARP survey. Helping them transition into working less hours, such as by training them on telecommuting or retooling their responsibilities, can be less costly than replacing them with full-time workers, while allowing you to utilize their institutional knowledge.
  • Encourage them to be open-minded to their younger colleagues – According to CompTIA 2018 report “Managing the Multigenerational Workforce,” 64% of baby boomers say younger workers aren’t loyal and 59% say they’re entitled. Establish mentorship programs or pair them on projects to overcome potential stereotyping.

Gen X – Born between 1965 – 1980

  • Preferred training methods – Gen X falls between boomers and their younger counterpart millennials in terms of exposure to technology in their formative years. As such, Gen X is experienced in both “old school” and more technology-driven methods and can typically do both without issue.
  • Preferred communication style – Another outcome of Gen X sharing experiences with both boomers and millennials is they are flexible with communication styles. They have been accustomed to face to face and phone calls, as well as emails and text.
  • Facilitate their transition into senior leadership – As the boomers who long held the highest-level positions in the company head toward retirement, make sure you’re cultivating your Gen X workers to become leaders. Prioritize professional development so they are ready.
  • Respect their independence but be mindful of cynical tendencies – Gen X is differentiated by a stronger sense of autonomy than other generations, so avoid micromanaging and forced group work, and they’ll be productive without constant oversight. They are also often characterized by a tendency toward skepticism, so don’t let it slide if they automatically are negative about topics – instead, encourage them to focus on developing solutions.

Millennials – Born between 1981 – 1998

  • Preferred training methods – Millennials are typically interested in tech-driven solutions, so consider including interactive or video training to appeal to their learning styles.
  • Preferred communication style – This generation of workers came of age when technology became integrated into personal communication, so they prefer email or group chats to communicate at work
  • Prioritize retention efforts to solidify commitment – Since millennials make up the largest generation, investing in their future at your company is crucial. However, millennials don’t generally tend to feel a sense of loyalty to employers. If you want to prevent turnover, prioritize retention efforts such as flexible schedules and telecommuting options, a positive workplace culture, professional development opportunities and recognition initiatives.
  • Give them a sense of purpose to fuel their engagement – What differentiates millennials from other generations is their tendency to want to do meaningful work. They grew up in a time of social change, and are characterized by their desire to have purpose. If you want to engage them to go above and beyond, communicate the value they are adding to the bigger picture.

Gen Z – Born after 1998

  • Preferred training methods – Millennials came of age during the advancement of technology, but for Gen Z, it’s all they’ve ever known. Their schooling was centered around technology and e-learning using devices, so they are accustomed to training with online, interactive programs, gamification and social collaboration.
  • Preferred communication style – As digital natives, Gen Z has been immersed in social media and being accessible 24/7 via smartphones, texting, group chats and emails align with their preferences and experience. Conducting personal or professional business via phone just isn’t as common for them.
  • Set the foundation for recruiting them – The oldest of Gen Z have just started to enter the workforce within the past few years, but since they make up 19% of Canada’s population, they will soon comprise a significant part of the future workforce. Don’t wait until it’s too late – start efforts for recruiting them now. Work on your company’s online and social media branding, get involved with local schools and universities, and get them in the door with internship programs.
  • Attract them by appealing to their concerns on financial stability – The cost of university tuition is skyrocketing, while the average pay in Canada has barely grown in decades. Gen Z is rightly worried about their financial prospects, so prepare to highlight your compensation, perks and opportunities for internal professional growth and promotions.

The traits of top performers are timeless.

Find the candidates that will be the best additions to your team by working with PTC Recruiting. As a division of Bay Talent Group, PTC has provided staffing services to top employers in the accounting, finance and administrative industries for nearly 3 decades. Contact PTC today to discover how we can help you with your hiring needs.

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