The current workplace is diversifying, with many organizations striving to hire diverse workers. Traditionalists, baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z are the five generations in the workplace. More and more employees are working into their retirement years, resulting in more significant generational overlap. Managers should ensure that they can motivate a multigenerational workforce because failure to do so will decrease productivity, increase absenteeism, turnover, and reduced profits (Mikkelsen, et al., 2017). The generational value systems, goals, and beliefs that define and differentiate each successive generation have been discovered by researchers. Therefore, this paper will analyze the importance of managing a diverse workforce.
These cohorts constituting about 4% of the total workforce, were born between 1925 to 1945. They have the following core values; hard work and respect for authority. These people are devoted to their nation and their families, apprehensive of new or unexpected experiences (Fahy & Moylan, 2019). Traditionalists place a premium on human touch and handwritten letters, believing they provide more substantive communication than email. To engage them, employers should provide employees with meaningful work and the chance to partake in the organization’s success, which is essential to ensuring stability.
A large cohort of baby boomers accounting for more than 45 percent of the workforce, were born between 1946 and 1964. This implies they have had a great influence on the modern workplace and society as a whole. They are optimistic, prepared to prioritize their interests above everyone else, and open to change (Fahy & Moylan, 2019). They prefer to communicate in the most effective way possible, which includes phone calls and in-person meetings. To engage and encourage baby boomers, employers should clearly outline their objectives and deadlines and assign mentor roles.
This generation, born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s, accounts for around 34% of today’s working population. They are the offspring of obsessive workers from the previous generational group regarding money, titles, labor, and recognition. Furthermore, they have these core values; informality, technology awareness, and diversity (Fahy & Moylan, 2019). Generation X believes the most efficient mode of communication is through phone calls and face-to-face dialogues. Employers should engage them by giving prompt feedback, flexible work arrangements, work-life balance, and professional advancement opportunities.
Millennials were born between 1981 and 1995 and constitute roughly 20% of the workplace. This is because baby boomers are the vast generational cohort to enter the workforce (Fahy & Moylan, 2019). Millennials prefer to communicate via instant messaging, text messaging, and email. To properly engage them, employers should get to know them, make sure they are flexible with their schedules and work assignments, and offer them timely feedback.
They are the most ethnically and racially diverse generation born after 1996. They demonstrated signs of being at ease with pursuing non-conventional career options, such as starting a new firm or getting involved in a new initiative outside of the regular workplace (Fahy & Moylan, 2019). They are also prepared to take personal risks if they feel they will benefit in the long run (Loveland, 2017).
They prefer communicating via instant messaging, text messaging, and social media, as their lives are defined by rapidly changing technology developments. Thus, to engage them, employers should create work-life balance, enable employees to be self-directed, and provide them the opportunity to work on numerous projects simultaneously.
Strategies to Motivate a Multigenerational Workforce
A company’s success is mainly dependent on its ability to motivate its workers. A lower-motivated workforce results in a less productive company, impacts coworkers, and exacerbates employee burnout (Khan & Zakir, 2016). Managers are responsible for developing their employees while simultaneously enhancing each worker’s strengths to benefit the company. As a result, managers must understand the various generations under their supervision and exploit the distinct characteristics of each group to their advantage (DelCampo, et al., 2017). Employers who want to integrate a multigenerational workforce successfully must be aware of these differences and create an environment that encourages this inclusion.
To enhance information sharing, managers might pair Traditionalists with Millennial or Gen Z employees. Traditionally trained employees have existing institutional knowledge, and younger employees can gain insights from these experienced colleagues. The Generation Z cohorts can guide the Traditionalists by introducing them to the latest equipment and software. Generation X values balance in their work and personal lives. The work requirements and expectations of the millennials are different from other generational diversities.
Millennials prefer work environments where they are closely supervised and given constant feedback on their daily performance. Managers should talk to Millennials about work expectations often and define what they expect from them. When goals are achieved, then the employees’ contributions to the organization should be recognized.
Benefits of Multigenerational Workforces
A diversified workforce enables businesses to offer more goods and services to consumers by allowing for flexible work hours that may be done in an office or remotely, depending on employee preferences and availability. This will be even more crucial since social distance may remain in effect for an extended period throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Secondly, to foster a culture where creativity and invention are valued, it is essential to have a varied workforce in terms of skills, viewpoints, experiences, and approaches to problem-solving and decision-making. Thirdly, there is also a possibility of expanding learning possibilities, in which older generations mentor and provide feedback in both online and classroom environments.
Older workers may also learn from younger workers about becoming more knowledgeable about technology. Organizations with a wide range of competencies, working styles, and expertise adapt swiftly and effectively to change for instance during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Workforce diversity enhances customer service since this motivates staff to build strong personal connections with consumers (Kostanek & Khoreva, 2018). Having a diverse team will also aid an organization in developing more real interactions with a larger spectrum of consumers.
Potential Communication and Collaboration Challenges
When the age gap surfaces, things are almost usually not going to be smooth. Managing the expectations of multigenerational staff is difficult for employers since everyone has a unique set of expectations and objectives (Fahy & Moylan, 2019). By acknowledging the issues upfront, one will have a better chance of solving them. For instance, age diversity in the workplace might bring about the following problems.
- There is an increase in possible conflicts due to differences in values, views, work ethics, and communication styles.
- Lack of understanding between generations, it’s not surprising that Boomers and Generation Z might have difficulty getting along.
- Each successive generation certainly has a different working style, and these various styles will conflict with each other repeatedly. In contrast to Generation Y and Generation Z, the Baby Boomers are frequently particular about long work hours and prefer to work on-site.
- The gap in communication between these generations is far more than just differential working habits; it results from a difference in communication styles. A misunderstanding or a complete absence of communication might result from these differences in communication style.
Although there are several reasons why having multiple generations in the workplace is difficult, it may still make a considerable contribution to your company’s success. In other words, in managing a diverse team, understanding these challenges is vital. Because each generation approaches problem-solving differently, and thus having a multigenerational workforce may be highly useful for discovering potential solutions and innovative methods of day-to-day handling difficulties.
DelCampo, R. G., Haggerty, L. A., & Knippel, L. A. (2017). Managing the multi-generational workforce. Routledge. Web.
Dick, S. D. (2019). A study of the generational differences in work values of Generations X, Y, and Z (Publication No. 13880908) [Doctoral dissertation, Northcentral University]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.
Fahy, G., & Moylan, E. (2019). The challenge of developing reward programs that motivate multi-generational workforces. Exemplar, 1(1), 23-47.
Khan, A., Khan, I., & Zakir, Z. (2017). Relationship between employees motivation and turnover intention: Empirical study of traffic police of district Charsadda. Sarhad Journal of Management Sciences, 2(02), 113-127.
Kostanek , E & Khoreva , V 2018. Multi-generational Workforce and Its Implication for Talent Retention Strategies. In M Coetzee, I L Potgieter & N Ferreira (eds), Psychology of Retention: Theory, Research and Practice. Springer, Cham, pp. 203-221. Web.
Loveland, E. (2017). Instant generation. Journal of College Admission, 235, 34-38.
Stevanin, S., Voutilainen, A., Bressan, V., Vehviläinen-Julkunen, K., Rosolen, V., & Kvist, T. (2019). Nurses’ generational differences related to workplace and leadership in two European countries. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 42(1), 14–23. Web.