How Employers Can Navigate a Multi-Generational Workforce

Posted by Ainsley Lawrence on Mar 30, 2022 12:00:00 PM

Perfecting the hiring and onboarding is always difficult in an ever-changing world. As Baby Boomers age, Millennials enter leadership positions, and Gen Z enters the workforce, one of the biggest challenges facing employers today is managing a multi-generational workforce.

Age diversity — as with all forms of diversity — can come with different communication styles, skills, and motivations. If you manage it poorly, it can create friction on your team. But if you manage it well, you can benefit from each generation's diverse skills and perspectives with minimal turnover.

We'll explore how your company can navigate the differences between age groups within a pool of candidates, during the hiring process, and even in a group of new hires.

Understand the Diverse Motivations Between Generations

When you're working with a diverse group of applicants, each individual will be motivated by different benefits, company perks, and leadership styles. For instance, Millennials are willing to work for lower salaries in exchange for more flexibility, mentorship, and job security.

While it's not feasible or ethical to change your benefits packages immensely for certain hires, it is important to emphasize the right benefits of accepting a role on your team. This will help you get the best candidates to follow through with your entire hiring process, so you wind up with the best employee.

Individualize Your Expectations

The resume of an older job applicant is likely to look incredibly different from that of a younger employee. Millennials are nearly three times more likely than the Silent Generation to have a college degree and switch jobs far more often than Baby Boomers. However, this doesn’t mean that a member of one generation is better than another. For example, older generations may have far more actionable work experience, while Millennials will stay incredibly loyal to the right company.

Adapting your job listings to generational differences is key to building a more equitable hiring process. Re-write your job listings and interview questions in a way that won’t dissuade minority generations from aiming for a role and re-evaluate the necessity of requirements like a college degree. For example, for a general IT role, you may consider how many years of experience can make for a strong employee instead of cutting out every candidate without a bachelor’s degree.

Require Diversity and Inclusion Training

When you have a multi-generational workforce, ensuring that your employees all trust and respect each other is critical. Including diversity and inclusion training in your onboarding process can help you keep employees mindful of each other's unique life experiences. Plus, it can challenge your employees to identify their unconscious biases, so they can actively avoid them when interacting with different generations.

For instance, an employee from an older generation may undervalue ideas presented by their younger peers, assuming their limited years of experience makes them less capable. A younger employee may assume older ones are less tech-savvy. However, when your employees are open-minded from the start of their employment, they can become better collaborators who are inclusive of all generations.

Diversity and inclusion training for your HR and leadership teams can also help you avoid discriminatory hiring practices.

Hire With Attitude in Mind

Every employee is different. They join your team with different professional experiences, training from different institutions, and unique skill sets — and this diversity in perspectives can help your business flourish. However, the one thing your employees should share before they join your team is the perfect attitude for the job.

While your new hires can always get trained on new skills, attitude is inherent in many ways. If an employee has a distaste for learning, they’re less likely to grow in their role. If an interviewee is rigid and serious, it’s unlikely they’ll fit into a creative, casual environment. Regardless of age — or any other demographic characteristic, for that matter — the wrong attitude can cause friction within your company.

Employers must seek coachable hires who are direct culture fits. These are the team members who are likely to become loyal to your company and mesh well with your current employees, even if they’re three generations apart. If your new hire doesn’t have the exact skill set you’re looking for, you can at least guarantee that they’re worth investing in.

Navigate Generational Diversity With Ease

Making your hiring and onboarding processes more inclusive of all age groups, from Generation Z to the Silent Generation, is a necessity for every employer. As the workforce shifts, you can use these tips and insights to better understand how the generations differ and build the strongest team possible. Start shaping your hiring tactics by getting to know how professionals of different ages are motivated and what constitutes a good resume in each generation. Then, hire for attitude and invest in diversity, inclusion, and skills training to build an enjoyable culture for all.

Topics: Employer Tips, recruitment, Multi-Generational

VERCIDA Group is a global inclusion consultancy and talent attraction organisation. We specialise in diversity onboarding, leadership development programmes, and creating inclusive work cultures. VERCIDA group consists of and VERCIDA Consulting

We're driving innovation and setting a new standard for the way you attract, progress, and retain the very best people for the job.

Subscribe to our employer blog

Recent Posts


Want to become an employer of choice?

Get in touch.