Anticipating a Multigenerational Workforce
Updated on May 31 2019
By 2050, an estimated 2 billion people (22 percent of the global population) will be 60 years old or older. In the United States alone, 10,000 people turn 65 years old every day. As seniors live and work longer than ever, industries are seeing a seismic shift in their customers and their workforce. This shift demands innovative approaches to incorporate and integrate five generations of workers in today’s workforce.
The Benefits of a Multigenerational Workforce
Today’s workforce is composed of five generations and includes people born before 1945 and those born after 1996. In prior decades, the workforce has only spanned three or four generations. The unprecedented gap between generations can not be underestimated or dismissed. The world changed drastically in those 51 years and those born into different generations have very different expectations for their careers and their work/life balance.
However, leveraging these different experiences and managing them well can greatly boost productivity and efficiency, giving companies a competitive advantage. In fact, research has shown that senior workers come with invaluable knowledge and even a greater commitment to their employers. Furthermore, many senior workers are coming out of retirement by choice and entering the workforce on their terms with a renewed commitment and a unique perspective on working. When generations come together, research has shown that productivity is highest, their teams bring better financial returns, and intergenerational teams consistently out-perform those teams where members are similar ages.
Bridging Generational Gaps in the Workplace
Like most things in business, having a strategic plan to collaborate and include all generations, starts with leadership. When leadership values the input of each generation, company culture will follow. These three tips can help companies develop a strong and engaged multigenerational workforce that benefits employers and employees alike.
1. Give everyone a chance to lead.
Recognizing the strength that each generation can bring to the workplace is crucial to the success of a multigenerational workforce. Technology and trends may be a strength of a younger generation but the older generation has experience to lead junior employees on business intuition and other things you can only learn from experience. Play to each generation’s strength and then give them a chance to show that strength in different circumstances.
2. Give everyone a chance to follow.
Not everyone can lead all the time. It’s important to build a corporate culture that values learning and following a leader. Research shows that when employees, and specifically, millennials have the chance to learn at work, their engagement and productivity increases. By allowing employees to learn from other generations, companies are teaching invaluable skills to their employees while also increasing employee satisfaction.
3. Embrace generational differences.
Don’t turn a blind eye to the differences between generations. Embrace them and acknowledge them in a way that is empowering. In the onboarding process, have initial training on each generational style and characteristics, letting new employees know that the company is proud of its intergenerational collaboration. Clearly outline a zero tolerance policy against ageism in any form and conduct regular training on multigenerational collaboration.
If you are considering when to retire or when to reenter the workforce, contact a fiduciary financial advisor who can help you create a strategic retirement plan that leverages your unique skill set. Fiduciary financial advisors can help you retire at the best time for your portfolio and help you create a retirement that is engaging and meaningful while making the most of your investment and retirement financial plan.
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