4 Ways To Address The Needs Of The 4 Generations In A Workplace
Every generation has a personality, and there are specific tricks of the trade for staffing and recruiting across generations. Starting with the most recent, Gen Z is now entering the workforce. Millennials increasingly make up the bulk of the working population, and Gen X and Baby Boomers are phasing out into retirement. This phenomenon is sweeping Poughkeepsie, NY, and around the nation: the average age of an employee at a company is increasingly getting younger and younger. Increased diversity brings in a wealth of fresh perspectives, technical aptitudes, and seasoned expertise that can make work an ecosystem of mentorship and teamwork.
What are the key needs of the different generations? Every generation is looking for something slightly different in their work experience:
- Boomers want to share their wisdom through mentorship and consulting opportunities. They are at the end of their careers. They value stability, flexibility, and great health benefits. Their ideas of work ethic are more traditional and may be considered “workaholics” to the younger generations. However, this brings in a richness of ideas, experiences, and perspectives.
- Gen X has spent enough time in the workforce to have a clear idea of what they want from their careers. Up to this point, they may have already had a few pivots and industry changes. They’ll want to make a meaningful impact in the last leg of their careers in their chosen field. Like Boomers, they seek an opportunity to lead and share their work experience. They seek robust benefits packages and workplaces that are supportive of professionals with families.
- Millennials want two things: to propel their careers forward as quickly as possible and to prepare for retirement as well as possible. Like Gen X, they have clarity around what they want to do in their working lives. Unlike the previous generations, they’re not as willing to put in the time — millennials are tech-savvy and appreciate a “work smart and efficient” mantra. Millennials are more selective of industry type (tech-forward is the preference), and they are highly sensitive to the mission and culture of a company.
- Gen Z wants three things: to launch their careers as quickly as possible, make an impact, and build community through work. They are less conscientious of traditional benefits and prefer high-growth opportunities (mentorship, startups, anything with a fast-track). They are also highly social and seek work environments that outwardly promote “fun.” Although Gen Z currently only has a few years in the workforce, we see a resurgence of entrepreneurship. Gen Z’ers are proficient in technology and leverage tech in getting themselves known and heard as a force to be reckoned with.
Given these attributes of each generation, we can tease out strategies for recruiting across generations:
- Use a combination of old-school and online mediums as job boards. To cast the widest net and have the farthest reach, post jobs on and offline. Offline job boards include the newspaper, radio, and local community groups. Community centers that serve different demographics, including religion, race, veterans groups, etc., are great resources.
- Make the wording in your job descriptions as inclusive as possible and pay attention to masculine/feminine phrasing. There are free online gender decoder tools available online that scan job descriptions. Changing the tone and wording with a few additions can make a huge impact on attracting female and diverse applicants.
- Targeted benefits: Robust healthcare, family support, and professional development opportunities are the buzzwords.
- Investing in diversity: Highlight how diverse your workplace already is and its commitment to becoming increasingly diverse. It’s becoming common practice to create a ‘Leaders/Owners/Founders Profile’ page on the main company website to showcase the leaders and their backgrounds. Job seekers care about leadership, and a visual representation is the best way to extend the invitation to apply directly from your leaders.
Ultimately, a company should work with the existing leadership in moving diversity forward and devising a strategy for recruiting across generations. Start by reflecting, what is the company’s generational makeup currently, and what does it support well? Does it already support the work-life needs of a family well, or are most of the employees younger, single millennials who are devoted to their careers? Recognizing where your leaders/owners/founders are currently will help to pave the path for supporting employees outside of your majority demographic better. At SMART Staffing Group, Inc., we are a Minority and Woman-Owned business that has served the Hudson Valley region since 2014. We consult individuals, companies, and local businesses in their recruiting, talent, and staffing needs. We believe in matching individuals with rewarding positions and inclusive workplaces for holistic personal and professional growth.