People & Leadership

4 generations under one roof: how to manage a multigenerational workplace

For the first time in decades, the workplace is filled with four generations working under one roof. Over the last decade, there has been a huge shift in the workforce around the world. Today’s workplace is filled with employees who were born from 1945 to 1999. That’s a huge gap in age difference. Each generation has different values and methods of working. Employers are now faced with adapting to each generation’s working style while trying to figure out how to meet their needs.

Robert Half Management Resources recently surveyed more than 2,200 CFOs on working in a multigenerational workplace. Most executives agree that each generation works differently and working in this type of environment is hard to adjust to.

“CFOs surveyed were asked, “In which one of the following areas do you see the greatest differences among your company’s employees who are from different generations?”

The executives responded that they see the most differences in how each age group communicates, adapts to change, uses technology and how they collaborate.

“Each generation brings unique characteristics to the workforce, which should be embraced,” said Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “Too often, managers see these differences as negatives, but building a team with diverse perspectives, insights and strengths can only be a positive, leading to improved products and service levels.”

Having trouble keeping your employees engaged? Here are 4 tips on how to keep your multi-generational workplace engaged.

1. Understand your audience- As Hird noted, each age demographic has something unique to bring to the table. Get to know your employees. This is the first step to creating an engaging workplace and attracting new talent. Find out what your employees are passionate about and what type of environments they are comfortable working in. Understanding what motivates your employees will help your organization increase its employee retention rate and develop collaborative working environments.

2. Offer flex time – Offering your employees a flexible work schedule provides them with a better work-life balance. A 2014 Stanford University study revealed that employees who were given the opportunity to work from home were not only happier but more productive. They completed more work than the employees who stayed in the office and were less likely to quit.

3. Provide team building exercises- Team building activities are a great way to build trust between management and employees. A research report conducted by ESI International showed 65.5 percent of workers believe that their organization’s project performance would improve if their teams worked more collaboratively. The survey also revealed that 80.9 percent said that they need help with their communication skills, 49.6 percent need help with leadership skills and 47.3 percent need help with critical thinking skills. HR teams should work with management to develop leadership training programs and organize quarterly team-building activities. Offering your employees learning and development programs will allow them to succeed and foster future leaders within the organization.

Understanding each generations working style is the key to keeping your workforce connected, involved and engaged. As technology advances companies must better understand their diverse workforce to provide them with the best tools for success and improve their workplace culture.