The age-diverse workplace is here. Today’s work sites typically include Gen Z, Millennials, Gen Y and Baby Boomers working side by side. According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Global Talent Trends report, 56% of global companies are updating policies to engage workers across the generations.
The benefits of an age-diverse business far outweigh the challenges.
- Diversity of thought
A well-integrated work site, with an age range of high teens to 70-plus, has an extraordinary opportunity to innovate. Where the enthusiasm of the 20-year-old meets the experience of the 60-year-old, great things can happen.
Tip: Welcome ideas and suggestions from workers of every age. Park your ‘age’ preconceptions or unconscious bias and open your mind to something new.
- Shared knowledge
Pooled knowledge is one of the greatest perks of a multi-gen workforce, with each generation offering uniquely valuable insights. Each can offer suggestions, skills and techniques which can enrich solutions, knowledge and capability.
Tip: Encourage workers who are natural leaders, strong collaborators and team builders. Also consider a formal mentoring process to capture and impart all that wonderful knowledge.
- Broader perspectives
Workers of varying age have different approaches to work. Each generation brings its own style and perspective to the table.
Tip: Not everything will work. Accommodate individual work approaches as far as possible, while exploring the optimum approach for your workplace.
- Greater productivity
Research shows that mixed-age work sites have higher performance and productivity than those with specific age groups. Done right, multi-gen teams score higher in terms of creativity, output and complex decision-making. Workers feel included, valued and truly engaged.
Tip: Actively create workplace alliances across the age groups. Build teams with balanced age input. Set tasks and assignments for older and younger workers to tackle together, anticipating and troubleshooting any culture clashes that may arise.
- More stable business
You may well have lower staff turnover on an age-diverse work site. Engaged workers tend to stay at a workplace longer and this allows time for succession planning. When they do move on, you have a ready pool of skilled younger workers keen to take their place.
Tip: Bridge potential skills gaps with mentor-mentee relationships. Ensure key knowledge is pooled and passed on. Focus on career growth for all workers, so they have a clear path career paths - remember not all career paths involve promotions.
- Better customer experience
Each generation can provide different and specific insights into customer needs and preferences across the age spectrum. This means you can improve customer service, experience and offering by tapping into worker knowledge.
Tip: Set up age-diverse working groups to drill down into market research. Tailor products, services and communications to suit your target audience.
HR consulting can help small and medium sized business focus on each stage of the employee lifecycle and boost their employer brand.