Tackling the Multigenerational Workforce Challenge

August 4, 201610:44 am
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Most HR managers and employers realize one of the greatest challenges in workplace management today, is dealing with increasing demands of the multigenerational workforce. Today’s work environment is dominated by three different generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Millennials.

The prevalence of these three generations coexisting and supporting operations in a single place can fuel creation of a couple of challenges, that are unique in nature, different with specific characteristics and perspectives towards pursuing their career pathways.

Baby boomers are now officially assuming leadership roles early on in their career. Their long tenures enrich them with adequate knowledge, experience, capability and skill sets.Therefore, their roles become critically important to further organisational growth, especially when the management is making important decisions related to company’s progress, stakeholder management and governmental issues.

See also: Here are 5 Ways How Millennials will Change a Workplace for the Better

However, herein the aging generation often tend to showcase a strict attitude, loaded with traditional perspectives that confront new ideas and breakthroughs in innovation towards effective workforce management.

While Baby Boomers are best positioned to be advisors, Gen X is now assuming some meaty job roles and strategic positions in their career such as managers, supervisors and leaders.

Baby boomers showcase adequate maturity to lead an organization, however still open to adjust along with the newer perspectives of the younger generation. Generation X is able to easily adapt to the change related to economic volatility and technological advancements.

Millennials, being the youngest workforce are confronted with a totally new set of  challenges in their daily work life. This tech-savvy generation has unique yet useful skill sets, that can significantly bring about new advancements to the company’s progressive vision.  

They are brimming with innovative ideas and bright breakthroughs to help the company thrive and sustain in a highly-competitive age. However, being young and lacking industry experience, their decision making skills cannot be implied without supervision and approval by the senior management.

Since the multigenerational workforce coexists, HR managers and employers alike face some common challenges as listed below:

Communication Style

Millennials love to tweet, chat and video call, whereas baby boomers and Gen X prefer to use phone calls and text messages. While, baby boomers and Gen X love to use more formal language, millennials are tech-savvy to use abbreviations, jargons and some technology-friendly terms.

Leaders and employees alike should make concerted efforts to communicate in ways that is easily understandable and friendly to their coworkers.

Instead of emphasising on a certain communication style, employers can act fairly by prioritizing the formal language to the older workers while allowing casual friendly means of communication with peers at work. Also, chat applications and video calls should be chosen based on their effectiveness that best fits with the company culture.

Negative Stereotypes

Baby boomers, Gen X and Millennials have their own negative stereotypes. Baby boomers are known to be the most stubborn workforce, while millennials are widely known to be the most flexible, indisciplined generation.

While such stereotypes might be true, it is unwise to judge people based on these general assumptions. Millennials might be tech-savvy and willing to implement many innovative ideas. However, they still need adequate supervision and mentoring to execute their innovations into practice.

On the other hand, baby boomers are stubborn, strict and stern to confirm with their  traditional values. They might find it extremely difficult to accept new challenges and changes, however with great approaches and justified explanation, they can try and adjust themselves to work harmoniously with the younger workforce.

Cultural Expectations

Millennials are fond of flexibility. This generation believes that physical presence in the office of an employee in itself doesn’t guarantee productivity, especially when their minds are focused on personal management and not office work. On the other hand, Baby Boomers insist on attendance of employees in an office to confirm with employer rule book as part of their professional conduct at work.

For leaders, a good way to manage this multigenerational workforce is to allow individuals to work in the style that’s best suited for them and acknowledge their efforts to make each team deliver maximum performance, regardless of their work style.

Tackling the demands of the multigenerational workforce can be quite challenging. However with adequate patience and efforts, the difference of this multigenerational workforce can be transformed into organisation’s strength, making up for each other’s weaknesses and thus building a solid teamwork.

Next read: The Top 5 Soft Skills Necessary for a HR