What Is Generational Diversity?
Generational diversity means having a wide range of generations in the workforce at the same time. This is an essential concept in the workplace today as people are retiring later, and there can be five generations in the workforce: Generation Z (1997-2021), Millennials (1981-1986), Generation X (1965-1980), Boomers (1946-1964), and Traditionalists – also called the Silent Generation (1922-1945). (I personally know a few Traditionalists who really enjoy their part-time work and the extra cash it provides them.)
Each generation grew up in a very different time in history which has influenced their values, work ethic, and preferred work environment. In 2018, Millennials were the largest generation in the workforce. In another few years, Gen X will reach retirement age, although many may continue working or take on part-time jobs. The percentage of Gen Z in the workplace could grow to 30% by 2030.
With so many different generations in the workforce, it is essential that employers implement strategies to attract, engage, and retain a multigenerational workforce.
What Motivates Your Diverse Workforce?
You can’t use age because motivators aren’t exclusive to an age group. Instead, there are many different factors that influence a person’s motivation, including the stage of life, location, socio-economic status, personal and professional goals, personality, number of dependents, marital status, and many other variables.
Our technology partner, Inspirus, suggests the following five common motivators that employers should take into consideration.
Daily Work: What is the employee experience? Many workers are motivated by a healthy culture, challenging work, meaningful contributions, clear expectations, structure, the latest technology, and transparent leadership.
Financial: Do your employees feel financially secure and empowered? Offering monetary rewards, flexible retirement planning, 401k matching, bonuses, stock sharing, and tuition reimbursement are just some ways to contribute to your employees’ financial wellness and education.
Recognition: Do your employees feel seen, heard, and valued? Make sure your recognition program includes peer recognition, recognition from supervisors, and experiential rewards so employees feel like their expertise is acknowledged and valued.
Career advancement: Are you supporting your employees’ futures? Many top-performing employees are motivated by professional development opportunities, skills training, online training and certification programs, mentoring, and promotions. Some may also have a strong desire to be in a position of authority or achieve a specific job title.
Work/life integration: Are employees able to manage stress effectively? Most of today’s workers, regardless of age, want a say in their work schedule and location. Offering expanded paid time off (PTO) and sabbaticals can help employees better balance the demands of their work and personal lives, allowing them to be more present in both areas.
How to Recognize the Employees You Have and Want
Everyone should be treated as an individual. Get to know your employees and recognize that each one of them may have different personality traits. Then it’s important to honor their differences. Doing so can help you develop effective talent acquisition and employee engagement strategies.
Think about the traits that both your current and future employees may have (both positive and negative traits) and then make sure your employee engagement strategies address these traits.
How to Treat Workers as Individuals
If you’re not already in the practice of treating each employee individually, this may sound like an impossible task. For some leaders, this comes easy, but others need to learn and practice this skill. Either way, it’s definitely worthwhile and will benefit everyone in the long run!
What are some ways you can treat employees as individuals with different needs? Inspirus outlines four strategies that can help foster a more inclusive culture and inspire higher levels of employee engagement.
Ask the right questions. Host one-on-one meetings with direct reports and the team, and find out what motivates them. Is it more money, a more flexible schedule, or something else?
Collect and evaluate feedback. Perform regular employee surveys and analyze the data. Then, use those insights to inform an action plan when necessary. By doing this, you are learning how to improve team culture.
Lead with kindness. Embrace an open-door policy in practice, not just in words. Foster a culture of kindness and understanding within your team and the workplace as a whole so that people feel encouraged to ask for help and support, and to talk about what they need to be happy and productive at work.
Be transparent. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and follow through with your promises. Another powerful way to be transparent and authentic is to apologize when you make a mistake. This is an effective way of changing corporate culture.
Generational Diversity Is a Win-Win
Supporting and striving for generational diversity in the workplace is about more than just doing the right thing and making/keeping employees happy. It is directly tied to better business outcomes and can benefit everyone involved.
If you’d like more information, have questions, or are ready to get started creating your company’s winning strategy to embrace generational diversity, give Incentra a call at 888-899-7295 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.