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For decades, employers have been inundated with studies about an imminent shift in workplace demographics, especially when millennials entered the scene. Many also planted seeds of doubt about how multiple generations could coexist or even thrive in the business world.
After nearly 20 years of experience working with at least four generations in the workplace, savvy employers have a solid understanding of managing any differences that may still exist. In addition, many of the lines have been blurred due to an increased focus on individual behaviors and values, along with the way workers view their jobs and purpose.
1. Offers a solid pipeline of talent
Companies that embrace multi-generational workforces will experience a solid pipeline of talent, which can provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace. When companies reevaluate and widen their recruiting efforts to attract employees from all generations, it expands the talent pool to fill open positions. Updating job descriptions with relevant language that appeals to everyone and identifying additional avenues for recruitment will help reach unapped areas for talent.
In addition, developing creative ways to retain top talent, including seasoned workers, is important for talent management and continuity efforts. For example, while many are retiring, there are some interested in transitioning to part-time work. Companies that can accommodate reduced hours will maintain a level of productivity and institutional knowledge that are costly and difficult to replace. As hiring and retaining top talent continues to be the single-largest challenge for employers, companies that have a solid pipeline of talent are better positioned for growth and continued success.
2. Increases innovation and creativity
Workers from different generations with varying degrees of experience will have different perspectives on situations, which can lead to greater levels of innovation and creativity. While younger, less experienced workers may have a fresh approach with new ideas about current trends, seasoned employees with greater experience may have a more measured approach based on strategies that have worked in the past.
When teams have the freedom and support to share diverse opinions and ideas, it creates an energetic environment to leverage the strengths of all workers that optimizes output. As companies look for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition, a workforce comprised of all generations can be a game changer that leads to new products/services, improved processes and intriguing strategies that result in business growth.
3. Boosts performance and engagement
When companies have a diverse group of workers, it can have a positive impact on performance and engagement. With a greater dependence on technology, companies are better positioned to affect the quality and quantity of their output. However, it takes skilled employees to effectively operate the systems for maximum results. While younger workers are more acccustomed to technology and its rapid changes, more experienced employees have developed their decision-making skills, which can have an impact at many points along the way to the final product or service.
As multiple generations share their skills and experience to guide and facilitate growth, it enhances the abilities for all, leading to streamlined operations. When people of all ages have a common mission and work together to achieve their goals, it boosts performance and engagement for the company.
4. Enhances the culture
Many job seekers and employees rank corporate culture as a primary reason to join or stay with an organization. When companies have employees with a diverse range of age, experience, knowledge and tenure, it can enhance the culture. It reduces the chances of producing a dull void of personality and vigor that maintains the status quo.
People with varying perspectives, backgrounds and life experiences help to create an energized workforce that builds/nurtures relationships; learns from each other; and develops ways to improve the culture. A great culture leads to more satisfied and engaged employees who demonstrate discretionary efforts that result in sustained business growth.
5. Supports succession planning
Succession planning is an area of concern for business leaders As record numbers of employees quit and many decide to retire. Companies with multiple generations can have a competitive advantage if they properly leverage workers’ institutional knowledge, experience, skill sets and strengths by encouraging cross-generational mentoring. While younger workers can help on the technology front, seasoned workers can share process-related knowledge with younger workers and new hires.
Leaders who take proactive steps to address brain drain, transfer of knowledge, upskilling and reskilling are positioning their companies to fill open jobs and hard-to-fill positions faster from within the company. Employees familiar with the company and its culture will ramp up sooner in their new roles. In addition, when employees have opportunities to advance, it leads to increased retention and less turnover, which is costly for employers. Multi-generational workforces offer built-in training opportunities enabling companies to promote from within, which can have a direct impact on business growth and the bottom line.
6. Affects the brand
A multigenerational workforce can certainly affect the brand because it is human nature to seek like-minded individuals for familiarity and comfort. It is a well-known fact that most job seekers and consumers analyze companies before becoming associated with them to determine mutual values. By taking a sharper look at a company’s mission/vision statements, corporate social responsibility Initiatives, core values and company culture, they can determine whether or not there is alignment and reason to move forward with a company.
It is not a stretch for people to also consider the generational composition of a workforce. For example, a hip, young technology company might not attract experienced workers because they may feel out of place; However, they may possess much-needed skills. Conversely, older consumers may feel more comfortable dealing with seasoned workers because they may be perceived as more knowledgeable. While it can be a balancing act, companies should consider their target market and workforce composition as they manage their talent needs because it can impact the brand and business growth.
Business leaders who embrace a multigenerational workforce and focus on the numerous benefits it provides are positioning their companies for sustained business growth.