Generational Diversity in the Workplace 2022
Diversity in the Workplace has long been an area of discussion and consideration among many organisations in Australia. Diversity and inclusion are continuing to grow in importance and gender and cultural diversity has been the focus for many years and continues to be extremely important. What has recently drawn attention specifically is generational diversity in the workplace. Employees deserve to work in a safe and inclusive environment where they are judged and valued on their work not their age, gender, or culture. This is increasingly becoming a topic of discussion and consideration across organisations. This article will explore generational diversity in the workplace in 2022 and its importance to organisations.
What is Generational Diversity?
Before understanding the importance of Generational diversity in the workplace we must unpack what generational diversity refers to. Put simply, generational diversity is the concept of having a wide range of generations in the workforce. We have seen a trend where people are retiring later, so for perhaps the first time we have 5 generations in the workforce. This in theory should make it easier for companies to reflect the overall composition of the country and customer base. Each generation contributes to generational diversity in the workplace: Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers and Traditionalists.
The 5 Generations in the workplace:
Traditionalists are 70 years old and above and remain in the workforce generally as partners, managers, and senior support staff. They are typically hardworking and loyal employees however they can be technology challenged.
2. Baby Boomers:
Baby boomers are people born between 1947 and 1965. They are also hardworking and are motivated by their position. They are dedicated and career-focused as well as loyal employees. However, they unlike traditionalists have been exposed to technology and are quite competitive in the workplace.
3. Generation X:
Generation X are individuals born between 1966 and 1980. They are believed to be the generation that began to introduce a work/life balance. They are highly independent and self-sufficient and although they may not be as tech-savvy as the younger generations but are quite comfortable with using technology.
Millennials also known as Generation Y are individuals born between 1981 and 1997. Like Generation X they prefer work/life balance and flexibility. They dislike being micromanaged and prefer working from home. They would much prefer finding the most effective way to complete their work with a work smart not hard mantra. They thrive on innovation and have contributed significantly to the start-up mentality. They are extremely comfortable using technology and understand how to use it to their advantage.
5. Generation Z:
Generation Z comprises individuals born between 1998 and 2010. Their values and expectation differ slightly from millennials. Generally, Generation Z does prefer career stability and are the most tech-savvy out of all the generations which comprise the workforce.
Why is Generational Diversity important?
Generational diversity as with other types of diversity such as cultural diversity in the workplace and gender diversity is important to balance an organisation. Managing diversity effectively allows companies to build a collaborative multigenerational workforce which has many benefits to an organisation. An organisation that embraces generational diversity in the workplace will create a strong workforce as each generation displays different strengths and once combined an organisation can benefit from them. Below we will address how to ensure your organisation implements changes that will contribute to generational diversity as well as focus on the specific benefits of a multigenerational workforce.
7 ways your organisation will benefit from generational diversity in the workplace:
1. Review your recruiting practices:
If you want to benefit from generational diversity, it all begins with recruiting new employees across generations. You will need to ensure that your job ads do not contain any age discriminatory formulas. Make sure to distribute your job ads via various channels and mediums and craft your message to appeal to multiple generations if applicable. This can be done by using language and providing information that will appeal across generations.
2. Customise your approach to each employee:
Whether it might be a certain project you assign an employee or professional development that is offered it is important to customise your approach to each employee. Whilst you need to be careful not to stereotype, a multigenerational workforce means that your employees value different things. Listen to your employees and you will retain employees across multiple generations as all their needs are being met.
Mentoring traditionally is viewed as an older wiser individual mentoring a young fresh individual in the workforce. However, the benefit of a multigenerational workforce means that this can go both ways. The transfer of knowledge across all 5 generations is extremely important and organisations can benefit from developing ways to share and transfer knowledge across the generations. This also bridges into age-diverse teams when problem-solving to achieve an outcome or deliver a project.
4. Strategy, Structure and Stability:
Older generations are more likely to provide the organisation with structure and stability and a clear strategy as they have a wealth of experience. This will help larger organisations have the essential foundations in place for performance and long-term growth.
5. Succession Planning:
Every organisation requires new people or existing staff to fill future vacancies. It is important to have a spread of employees from both Gen Z and Millennials to ensure a strong bench of up-and-coming talent. These are the individuals who are the future leaders of your organisation. This isn’t to say you will never hire outside of the organisation, but a diverse generational workforce will allow your organisation to have a competitive advantage.
The younger generation has all grown up with technology and will assist your organisation to leverage the benefits of technology. This means that your organisation will remain competitive and if not keep up, ahead of other competitors.
Younger generations tend to exhibit energy and enthusiasm. This translates to innovation and helps organisations come up with new ideas. This means that the organisation will not be left behind by its competitors and will constantly thrive.
Generational diversity in the workplace can be challenging to manage however as we have discussed organisations can benefit tremendously from a multigenerational workforce. Each person across the generations brings different experiences, values and knowledge that companies can leverage to be more innovative, competitive and successful.
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