How Our Multigenerational Workforce Can Shape the New Normal
Updated: Mar 17, 2021
While a definitive end to the COVID-19 pandemic may be unclear, we continue to hit milestones and experts suggest that the interested adult population will be immunized by summer. At some point, COVID may become our past but it has forever changed our future. In the wreckage of this pandemic arises an opportunity, a space for people and companies to change. This virus has exacted two key factors for growth: the opportunity to reflect and forced change.
The pandemic could be a Get Out of Jail Free Card for organizations that have needed a culture change. First, as I shared in The Top Change Management Mistakes Organizations Make, people are most flexible during time of crisis, meaning that the golden opportunity to implement new and lasting change is absolutely now. The four leading generations currently in the workforce are more adept than ever in the sense that they have the collective power to guide companies to the new normal. Leaning into multigenerational skillsets is the beginning of determining what successful organizations will look like.
This group brings legacy and the collective wisdom of how we got here. They have organizational and historical knowledge to impart on company leaders and new employees alike. They understand issues in a deeper way and offer an understanding of the past and its arrival to the present. This group offers more value than most consultants because of their experience alone; they are the legacy of past leaders.
Baby Boomers can mentor and teach other generations the deeper level of how we got here while explaining the why, which is especially important to Millennials. They can also coach to the art of communication in the workplace and how to get things done through building genuine relationships. This group will bring education and history to the table.
Gen Xers grew up more independent and with less supervision. They appreciate work-life balance and because of their sense of independence are able to hold themselves accountable to work and structure whether virtually or in the office. They are well-educated and feel empowered through access to information and responsibility. This group does not want to be micro-managed as they are entrepreneurial in spirit and are capable of making effective decisions and judgements without much guidance. It is helpful to set clear expectations and then give them the autonomy to get the job done.
Status and Brand Oriented
This generation will be instrumental in creating the appropriate balance in a remote work environment. They could help set the structure for their organization’s remote work guidelines and help other generations in managing the transition. They connect with the Millennials self-oriented intuition but also relate to the Baby Boomer’s focus and become a bridge between the two groups. They can also shed light on the importance of quality instead of quantity for younger generations as they appreciate nice things and understand the value of something that is well made.
Millennials grew up in the emergence of the Internet and appreciate technology; they also like to use their preferred technology to complete work. They move quickly and appreciate flexibility. While they want some independence, they also care very much about the "why" of their work. They want to understand the bigger picture and how what they do is connected.
Experience vs. Fixed Purchase
Millennials want to advance quickly and will leave a company if they do not feel valued or see the opportunity to move up. An excellent way to connect with this group and keep them with an organization is through world-class training and development programs. Millennials are the ticket to understanding what types of developmental programs are needed to incite enthusiasm and loyalty. They are an excellent source to tap for the building and creation of various training methods from podcasts to interactive workshops. They will have a strong connection with Baby Boomers and Gen Xers that reach out to help support, develop, and mentor them.
This generation is tech-savvy and competitive. They grew up connected to the world through social networks. They stay up to date with celebrity lives and social media. They are the most progressive generation and are accepting of all races, genders, and sexual orientations.
While Gen Zers are more connected they are also lonelier than their generational predecessors. They are constantly under the influence of social networks and are not as sophisticated in the art of face to face communication and/or presentation skills. Due to the attachment to technology on all levels, this group has blurred boundaries between work and personal life. Mental health and wellness programs will be on the rise with this generation. They will bring openness and acceptance to the workplace and benefit greatly from the Baby Boomers communication skills, the Gen Xers work-life balance, and the Millennial’s developmental tools.
Companies will find their new normal by tapping into the skillsets of their generational organization. Every one of these groups can learn from the other and grow into better employees and human beings while simultaneously building the ideal work environment. The combined expertise of Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and GenZ will create the future of work. Leaders who allow their Boomers to retire without gathering this knowledge will suffer a culture lacking many essential skills. As we move into the next pandemic milestone, let’s leverage our generations to rebuild a new normal for a better tomorrow.
If you are interested in learning more, please connect with us @ The Bond Consulting Group - Leadership and Development Training Pittsburgh