The multigenerational workforce: what businesses should consider
Today’s workforce is made up of multiple generations, from baby boomers with years of experience to gen Zs who have grown up with digital technology at their fingertips.
Today’s workforce is made up of multiple generations, from baby boomers with years of experience to gen Zs who have grown up with digital technology at their fingertips. Employees in the marketing, creative and digital industries are becoming increasingly varied in terms of age and perspectives, as businesses are presented with the challenge of adjusting their talent strategies to cater for differing needs and expectations to drive long-term goals.
According to Deloitte, 70% of organisations say leading multigenerational workforces is important for their success over the next 12-18 months, though only 10% say they are ready to address this trend. Strong leadership is key to get the most out of your diverse workforce and there are various methods to incorporate into your strategies to ensure you promote a positive work culture to reap the benefits of multigenerational teams – as there are many!
Effectively managing different generations in the workplace is one of the biggest challenges facing business leaders today. But those that get it right engender an engaged, driven and productive workforce that celebrates diversity of thought and drives revenue. Although employees of varying age groups may have different levels of experience, learning styles and tech ability, there are many similarities when it comes to the issues they face and their values and expectations in the workplace.
Many preferences that were once associated with millennials, such as the desire to work for an employer that reflects their values and the need for a healthy work-life balance, rings true across all generations. It is important for marketing, creative and digital leaders to treat employees as individuals and to avoid segmenting their workforce by generation, as a blanket approach does not exist. Instead, businesses should understand the socioeconomic climate each generation grew up in and value individuals for their own unique characteristics and strengths.
Understanding what motivates individual employees to ensure they’re performing at a high level is no easy feat! Though it’s important to know which generation each of your marketing team members falls into and recognise that they all grew up experiencing significantly different events that have shaped their values and perception of work today. To gain a better understanding of what makes them tick, it is important to learn more about the characteristics typically associated with each of the four generations which we’ve outlined below:
Baby boomers (1946-1964)
Baby boomers are renowned for having a strong work ethic and are incredibly loyal, resulting in key characteristics such as competitiveness and being goal orientated. Unlike our digital native gen Zs, this generation are more used to picking up the phone and communicating one-on-one.
Generation X (1965-1980)
Generation X is credited for driving the concept of a healthy work-life balance and are known for valuing independence. They tend to value career progression and expanding their skills and experience in a flexible working environment where collaboration and employee engagement is key.
Generation Y/Millennials (1981-1996)
Generation Y, often referred to as millennials, have grown up in the digital age and are influenced by the onset of the internet. Valuing and embracing diversity, independence and a global outlook, these employees are open-minded and excellent at multi-tasking.
Generation Z (1997-2015)
Gen Zs are the youngest generation in the workforce. They are known for being flexible and creative and look to employers that have similar values. Like gen Y, they have been exposed to the internet, social media and smartphones from an early age.
There are many benefits to multigenerational teams, as different age-groups can bring different strengths to your business, such as:
With a workforce made up of four different generations, it’s no surprise that your teams will have differing perspectives and more diversity of thought and opinions, boosting creativity.
Each generation has a different approach to solving problems which is fantastic for your business! Not only will your teams be faster at identifying potential solutions to problems, they’ll also have the ability to come up with new and exciting ways of addressing day-to-day issues.
Learning should be encouraged across the generations, as there is a lot to gain from each other’s differing approaches and understanding of the workplace.
Improved work culture
Maintaining diverse teams will create a positive work culture that promotes collaboration and creative thinking. It will also improve employee engagement and satisfaction, boosting your talent attraction and retainment.
Creating an environment that values the perspectives and opinions of different marketers from different generations is key, especially as managers are often overseeing people who are both younger and older than themselves. Other methods to incorporate into your workforce management strategy to promote collaboration and positive employee engagement are:
1. Nurture an inclusive work environment
Fine-tune your diversity and inclusion policy and promote a collaborative culture where each employee feels respected, valued and heard. Ensure that everyone feels comfortable and confident sharing their opinions, regardless of their experience or stage in their life.
2. Accommodate for different working and communication styles
Managing different generations in your business requires you to have varying management styles, adapting your commination and feedback dependent on the individual. Your aim is to ensure that the same information is accessible to all and accommodate for different working styles by providing flexibility over when and where your employees choose to work.
3. Combat bias and stereotypes
Generational or age-related stereotypes can hamper the relationship between employees, leading to a breakdown in communication and even conflict, which can be a nightmare for marketing leaders. Abolishing bias and stereotypes is not easily fixed, but businesses should offer training programs that will help their employees learn how to recognise generational differences and adapt their working and communication style accordingly. This will help to create a workforce that is more understanding of each other and knows how to get the best out of individuals.
If you would like to discuss how to manage multigenerational teams further or would like some more tips on how to promote and engage diverse teams, our consultants would be happy to help!
At DMCG Global we are committed to modelling diversity, equity and inclusion for the recruitment industry and within the digital, technology and marketing sin which we work. Our global talent consultancy helps to quickly connect businesses and brands with the right individuals anywhere on the planet. If you are looking for high-calibre professionals and would like a bespoke, high-quality recruitment service, our expert consultants will be happy to help. Get in touch below to find out more.
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