How to manage a multi-generational workforce
This comment originally appeared on Just.Marketing website
By 2020, ‘Millennials’ will make up 35% of the UK workforce while the younger Generation Z will account for 25%. So we’re all going to continue working with people from a range of different age groups, with different perspectives, expectations and experience levels.
Managers will therefore need to ensure that all the different perspectives add to company culture rather than cause tension. And in the best companies, the different generations could even learn from each other.
We asked four marketing agency managers to outline what they think the issues are and to offer their solutions – from the retention of middle management and working parents to bridging the digital divide.
Victoria Usher, Founder and CEO, GingerMay
“Firstly, facilitate a two-way conversation. It’s easy for employers to make assumptions about their workforce based on the rise in popularity of generational profiling. It’s why we saw ping pong tables and office slides sweeping Millennial-heavy start-ups, and then confusion when staff satisfaction levels remained low. My advice is to ditch what you think you know about age groups and open up a two-way conversation with staff across your organisation.
“We conduct regular, anonymous surveys with our multi-generational team to ensure the perks and benefits we offer hit the mark. We also encourage representatives from each department to attend a monthly employee forum on behalf of their peers where they can suggest areas of improvement within the business.
“Secondly, Think beyond the pub. Spending quality time with colleagues outside the office environment goes a long way in strengthening interpersonal relationships and boosting staff morale, but it’s important to remember that not everybody can make after-work office drinks. To ensure we offer our multi-generational team a variety of opportunities to socialise with their colleagues, we appointed a dedicated social committee in 2014 called GingerSocial. GingerSocial is run by a team of four volunteers from across the business who organise regular internal and external social events that cater to a variety of interests and schedules, funded entirely by our business. This ensures that colleagues across departments (and generations) come together at least once a month to socialise and get to know each other.
“Finally, encourage knowledge sharing. There’s a huge amount of value to be enjoyed from a multi-generational workforce, particularly the opportunity to share knowledge.
“Ultimately every employee, regardless of age or experience, has a unique skillset and attributes that others can learn from. Combining reverse and traditional mentoring programmes into the workforce can unite the multi-generational workforce by encouraging collaboration. We introduced a successful mentoring scheme last year which matches employees within the business and encourages them to learn from each other’s skills and experience.”