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by Jen Leigh on December 1, 2016

Age Diversity In The Workplace & Employee Engagement


Age diversity in the workplace can be a difficult task to tackle. Currently, there are five different generations of employees in the current workforce. That is a lot of different age groups, and catering to all of their needs can feel overwhelming. 

How to Effectively Manage Age Diversity in the Workplace

In a Kronos Workforce Management Institute study, employee engagement was determined to be the driving factor in the productivity of any business. Companies with high employee engagement enable a high-performing workforce and begin to see real, tangible results almost instantly.  

Generational labels can be useful tools to employ, to better understand the needs of each kind of worker. Currently, there are five generations of employees in the workforce: Silent Generation, Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millennials (Gen Y), and Gen Z.

Each generation makes up a certain portion of today's workforce. To effectively manage age diversity in the workplace, you need to address each generation individually based on the wants and needs of each age range. 

Here is what it looks like broken down:    

Silent GenerationDevelop a Multigenerational workforce

Also known as Traditionalists, this generation includes employees born before 1945. It roughly makes up 2% of today's workforce. 

Generally, Traditionalists value company loyalty above everything. It is very important whom they work for, and how the company treats them. However, they will treat and value the company the same way. So what you give them is what you get. 

Ways you can improve employee engagement for Traditionalists are:

  1. Create mentorship opportunities.
  2. Leveraging your relationships with your employees.

Baby Boomers

Born between the years 1946-1964, Baby Boomers are the second largest generation that is currently in the workforce. Baby Boomers make up 25% of today's workforce. Baby Boomers are employees whom people like to say that they "live to work".

Generally, Baby Boomers are thought of as a hard-working, dedicated, generation. Engaging them however can be tough because they also have a lot of reasons for slowing down or retiring.  

Ways you can improve employee engagement for Baby Boomers are:

  1. Help them with their work-life balance. They want to work, so help them be able to continue to work as long as they wish. 
  2. Spend an appropriate amount of time on succession planning and help take the stress out of retirement planning. Avoid brain-drain, and help simplify retirement planning for your employees, so that the added stress from that, doesn't shorten their career or affect their productivity.

GEN X

GEN X includes employees born between 1965-1980. The largest section of today's workforce, GEN X, "works to live" and makes up 33% of today's workforce. The most important thing about GEN X is they are the first generation with a large group of college-educated employees and the first group where career path and growth are important factors in their work-life. 

GEN X employees are not close to retirement but want to be able to retire earlier than their predecessors (the Baby Boomers). So steady growth in skill, position and compensation are all important needs. 

Ways you can improve employee engagement for GEN X:

  1. Foster leadership skills. 
  2. Consider proper compensation and increase compensation regularly with clear, outlined, challenging, yet achievable goals. 
  3. Provide a clear career path outline. Allow them to visualize where their career will lead. 
  4. Coach and guide your employees. 

Millenials 

Also known as GEN Y, Millenials are employees who were born between 1981 and the year 1996. They make up about 35% of today's workforce, the largest group of the five. Millennials are the most independent of all the employee generations. They want to "work their way".

They are also the first generation to be ultra-tech savvy (although not as much as GEN Z). 

Ways you can improve employee engagement for Millenials:

  1. Empower them to figure out things on their own (again, nurture their independence).
  2. NO MICRO-MANAGING (at least don't hover).
  3. Provide opportunities for self-service. Help impatient employees help themselves. 
  4. Demonstrate that you are as comfortable with technology as they are.
  5. Don't be afraid to lean on an employee who might understand technology better than you, and learn from them. Show them you value their knowledge and skill set. 

GEN Z

Gen Z includes all those born in the year 1997 and after. They make up the smallest percentage of today's workforce, about 5%. Notably, only a small portion of the generation is old enough to work, so this isn't surprising. These are the youngest people in the workforce, including teens. 

GEN Z is the most tech-savvy generation to date and is generally very similar to Millenials. You can use the same engagement tactics with both GENs Y and Z. When it comes to GEN Z however, there are many other things that you can do to improve employee engagement. 

Ways you can improve employee engagement for GEN Z:

  1. Allow for remote/hybrid work. With many GEN Z employees entering the workforce in the time of COVID, remote work has become much easier and desirable for many young employees. 
  2. Think out of the box when it comes to benefits and office amenities. Young employees like light, fun atmospheres. 
  3. Utilize and encourage collaboration. 
  4. Provide a vision for their career path, these young employees are very early in their careers, and thusly very future-focused. 
  5. Don't treat them differently because they are younger. Don't treat them as young adults, or worse patronize them.  

Effectively managing age diversity in the workplace, is a big factor in creating a strong sense of employee engagement for your business. Implementing HCM software solutions, like those available through Inflection HR, can greatly improve employee engagement by helping you tackle age diversity in your business, as well as get you over countless other hurdles in front of employee engagement. To see how Inflection HR is already helping countless businesses across countless industries effectively manage age diversity in the workplace, contact us today!

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Jen Leigh

Jen Leigh is a Senior Product Specialist with Inflection HR's Cloud Based HR and Workforce Management Solutions. Connect with Jenni and the rest of the Inflection HR Team on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.