Business

Recruiting and retaining multigenerational talent: what i’ve learnt as a business owner

The working population is growing as people live longer and choose to retire later, and the current employment workforce is now made up of five generations.

We are seeing baby boomers working alongside Gen Z, both generations apart with differing needs and priorities, and with this generational diversity comes the need for versatile leadership approaches.

I have found it incredibly important to embrace different generations within the workplace, as each bring different perspectives, skills, and experiences, however it cannot be a one size fits all approach to ensuring job satisfaction. It is important to consider how you can attract different generations, but also retain talent and support growth.

In recent years flexible working has been at the forefront of conversations, and this is hugely important for supporting different generational needs. While the younger generations have known nothing else, they may expect a level of hybrid working to support work life balance, and this can be vital for attracting talent to your business.

For other generations, there may be other factors encouraging the need for flexible working; whether it is supporting elderly parents, raising families, or moving home. As a business leader, I have found it hugely important to regularly communicate with employees to understand their needs outside of work, which in turn can lead to talent retention. Having structures in place which support flexibility, whether it is compressed work weeks, temporary, part-time or hybrid working are all important to support employees.

I still see value in face-to-face interactions within the workplace however, and communication is a further factor to consider when working with a multigenerational workforce. How we communicate at work has changed over the years, and through different generations. For Gen Z and Millennials for the most part, they’ve been brought up in a digital world, and may have preferences for quick communication online. This can differ from those who have experienced years of in person meetings and phone calls.

To ensure effective communication across a team, leaders should adapt their approach and understand preferences. For those companies who purely use online messaging platforms, consider the need for additional training across generations both in usage, but also in language used. This can help alleviate confusion and ensure efficient and effective communication methods.

A further factor to consider when leading a multigenerational workforce is how you promote and encourage wellbeing. On an individual basis, wellbeing can look very different, and there should be importance placed on fostering a culture that supports employees. This should be a holistic approach which considers both mental and physical health and these considerations should be personalised to not only the business, but the generations within it, and the perks and benefits which will resonate with them.

I think its hugely important to listen to your team, open channels of communication where they can provide suggestions which will further support their workplace wellbeing. This could be within one-to-ones, but also through anonymous suggestions.

Through my own journey in the working world, I have found mentoring to be personally rewarding, and this could provide a huge support to different generations. Younger employees entering the workforce can speak to someone experienced in their field and gain insights, and advice, which could be hugely valuable to their career and overall wellbeing.

For senior, more experienced employees, ‘Reverse Mentoring,’ whereby junior members of the workforce impart their knowledge, skills and perspectives on senior employees, can help encourage learning and integration between generations. The constructive collaboration of different generations through mentoring can address skills gaps across generations and build a culture of communication and learning.

A final consideration when leading a multigenerational workforce is loyalty. Research for a recent PushFar whitepaper, ‘The State of Mentoring and Coaching’*, has shown 3 in 4 Gen Z employees are likely to switch career paths entirely to find a job which suits their values, and offers upskilling. This is a huge proportion of the next generation of employees who put their needs over loyalty – and why shouldn’t they!

Job retention of 10 years plus for ages 55 and over is 60% which drops to 40% for those aged 45-54 and down to 20% to those aged 35-44. ** This pattern of retention is clear across generations as the way we view work has changed over time.

This should be at the forefront of business leaders’ minds; how are they supporting the next generation in the workplace to encourage their loyalty? Ultimately, job hopping occurs when employees do not feel valued, are not paid fairly, or are not progressing and learning in a role. It is hugely important to consider each generation, along with each individual and how as a leader, you can support their job satisfaction and encourage longevity.

While there are challenges in leading a multigenerational workforce, with the right training, support, and consideration, you will have a thriving and diverse team who offer valuable insights to grow and build your business.

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Recruiting and retaining multigenerational talent: what i’ve learnt as a business owner