Multi-Gen Workplaces: A Blessing or a Curse?

We were recently featured in Impact, the magazine for the largest community of research, insight, analytics and marketing sciences professionals. Our Gen Up research was spotted and we were contacted to share our findings and feature in the magazine. Below is an excerpt from the featured article.

A workplace with employees ranging from 18-to 67-year-olds- and in some instances, older — creates challenges for managers. It’s a new workplace dynamic, but is each generation really as different as we think?

Our Head of Insight, Katharine Newton said,
‘we’d seen research looking at one or two of the generations but struggled to find any looking at all four simultaneously — yet that is the reality; lots of workplaces have that.’

This is where the Gen Up project came to life. It is where we could uncover whether it is possible to have an employer brand that speaks to all four generations at once, or if separate strategies would be required for each group. We wanted to dispel the assumption that different generations equals different pages, and that multi-gen doesn’t translate into conflict and disconnect.

‘There is scope for an over-arching employer brand and recruitment strategy, but there are key areas where employers would be advised to dial up their messaging and proposition appropriately’, Katharine said.

Our research draws attention to the older generation, who felt they were being overlooked in terms of training and development opportunities. Where younger employees receive abundant opportunities to develop, older colleagues feel these opportunities were not in their reach. It all stems back to ‘that assumption that when you hit 50 you’ve nothing more to learn — that you know it all. But our research suggests over 50s don’t feel that way and there’s a strong appetite for training’, says Katharine. In order to successfully meet young generations’ requirements, our research revealed that employers increase the frequency of their reward and recognition programme. But this unfortunately wasn’t prevalent amongst older groups.

‘All four generations are looking for more communication than they are receiving. The elder generation was receiving even less than the younger ones. It backs up the misconception that they are considered as not needing those updates; is that generation being seen as a waste of time?’

This needs to change in order for the elder generation to feel equally valued in the workplace.

‘Even though state pension age is getting higher and higher, people are working longer but we’re still acting like they’re not — that they don’t need to learn past 50 because they are coming up to retirement age.’

The figures on this one speak a lot louder than words. Business in the Community did a report on age in the workplace and looked at how many people are receiving work-related training. ‘11% over the age of 60 received some form of training’, whereas the figure for ‘under 50s was 30%’, Becky reports. The gap here is far too wide and for a multi-gen workplace to thrive, this needs to change.

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This article on multi-gen workplaces was first published on the Talent Works International blog.

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