In today's dynamic and ever-evolving business landscape, one of the most valuable assets a company has is a diverse and inclusive workforce. While diversity encompasses various dimensions, such as race, gender and ethnicity, an often-overlooked aspect is age diversity comprised by a multigenerational workforce.
According to a recent data released by Workmonitor, 59% of Gen Z employees wouldn’t accept a job with a business that doesn’t align with their values on social and environmental issues, compared to a third (33%) of Baby Boomers. In job satisfaction, 50% of Gen Z employees would rather be unemployed than unhappy in a job, compared to 42 per cent of Millennials and 28 per cent of Baby Boomers.
The convergence of different generations in the workplace presents a unique opportunity for organizations to tap into a wealth of knowledge, experience and different perspectives. By valuing and harnessing the power of a multigenerational workforce, businesses can unlock new levels of innovation, productivity and sustainable success.
Wisdom born from experience
One of the primary advantages of a multigenerational workforce is the diverse range of experiences and accumulated wisdom that each generation brings to the table. Older employees possess a wealth of industry-specific knowledge, having witnessed and overcome numerous challenges throughout their careers.
Their expertise, honed over years of dedication, can guide and mentor younger colleagues, accelerating their professional growth. By creating an environment that fosters cross-generational collaboration, organizations can leverage this invaluable resource to make informed decisions, avoid costly mistakes and drive sustainable innovation.
Millennial employees are “extremely committed to the assigned deliverables”, Gen Z employees are “not only quite enterprising, but inquisitive on how and what would be the impact of their work on the overall organisation’s growth”, according to Amrita Das, Senior Vice President and Head of HR – APME Growth Markets, HCLTech.
Innovation through fresh perspectives
On the other end of the spectrum, younger generations, such as Millennials and Gen Z, are often characterized by their innate ability to adapt quickly to technological advancements and their fresh perspectives on problem-solving.
Younger employees, in particular Gen Z, are driving the change, says Das, who noted what they want from their employer is vastly different from their predecessors.
“This is the first instance, where we’ve found new hires asking for purpose-driven work [that] is aligned with their personal values and aspirations and creates impact.
“This means that our need to communicate proactively and offer clarity on the job, evaluation parameters, transparency of process and continuous assurance has never been higher. We’re also finding that new applicants are placing a higher weightage on an organization’s sustainability mission while evaluating their job options,” she said.
These digital natives bring an inherent understanding of emerging trends, disruptive technologies and changing consumer behavior. By embracing this innovative thinking and integrating it with the wisdom of older generations, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and drive well informed transformative change.
Commenting on why generational demands have changed so quickly, Das mentioned: “Gen Z has been born and raised in the digital age—meaning that the exchange of ideas and good practices has opened avenues for newer and better ways of managing themselves and their career.”
“They have started to differentiate between a career, a job and their livelihood—placing exclusive values on each of them and working towards nurturing each of them as and when they need be,” she added.
A multigenerational workforce creates a dynamic environment where new ideas are constantly exchanged, leading to creative solutions and enhanced competitiveness.
Bridging the generation gap
One of the challenges that arise in a multigenerational workforce is the potential for intergenerational conflict and miscommunication. Each generation has its own communication style, work preferences and values. However, by encouraging open dialogue and fostering a culture of respect and understanding, these differences can be bridged.
“For Gen Z, their job is not their life, meaning that their approach to work has been quite different from the earlier generations where job, career [and] livelihood went hand in hand, and the job was an essential source of livelihood in their life,” added Das.
Creating opportunities for mentorship, reverse mentoring and team-building activities can help build connections and foster collaboration between generations. By leveraging the strengths of each generation and promoting a culture of mutual respect, organizations can capitalize on the collective intelligence and unique contributions of their multigenerational workforce.
“The changing work dynamics are also posing a challenge for talent attraction and retention. HCLTech has two specific programs called TechBee and Rise. TechBee is our offering aimed at high school and university students. It’s a 12-month training program that allows students to start their careers early. Rise supports those who are returning to the workforce and offers reskilling and career coaching to ensure a smooth transition back to work,” said Das.
Meeting the evolving needs of customers
A diverse customer base requires a diverse workforce that reflects their needs and aspirations. With the global marketplace becoming increasingly interconnected and multicultural, it is vital for businesses to understand and cater to the preferences of different demographic segments.
“With more autonomy being provided to employees, especially the younger generations, we must be careful to ensure that there is no impact on business outcomes. The focus on customers, output and delivery shouldn’t be impacted,” suggested Das.
A multigenerational workforce provides a rich tapestry of perspectives, enabling companies to connect with customers from all walks of life. By incorporating a range of viewpoints, organizations can develop products, services and marketing strategies that resonate with diverse consumer groups, driving customer loyalty and expanding market share.
“The business model, structure, systems and process have to be ever evolving and be responsive to the changing asks and expectations. The tougher problem to solve will be to transition the culture into one that is more entrepreneurial, connected and inclusive. These would need to be imbibed at the leadership and HR level first and gradually trickle down along with the offerings at work,” continued Das.
The value of a multigenerational workforce
In a world where change is the only constant, businesses must adapt to stay relevant and competitive. Embracing and valuing the multigenerational workforce is not just a moral imperative but a strategic advantage.
By tapping into the diverse skills, knowledge and perspectives of employees across generations, organizations can fuel innovation, create inclusive work environments and thrive in an ever-changing marketplace. The value of a multigenerational workforce lies in its ability to unite the past, present and future, creating a powerful synergy that propels businesses forward towards sustainable success.