Why employers need to speak to different generations

May 1, 2019


Attracting, engaging and retaining a multigenerational workforce has never been so important.

Workplace demographics are such that it’s now possible for five generations to be working alongside each other. From traditionalists to baby boomers, generation X, generation Y and Gen 2020, good leaders need to recognise the workplace characteristics and personal desires of each individual, utilising these traits effectively for organisation success.
Appealing to the masses

When it comes to appealing to a diverse audience, it’s important to consider that each generation is looking for something slightly different in terms of their priorities and why they do what they do, which is why it’s so crucial to find an EVP that appeals to all. It’s also important to create a workspace that’s inclusive of all, but getting the balance right and managing expectations can be a challenge.
Practicing an inclusive workplace and the successful communication of this through a company’s EVP is critical and a key part of the journey to be appealing to all. Further endorsing this through equipping recruiters and hiring managers to be EVP ambassadors also ensures continuity of the EVP message to candidates throughout the recruitment and engagement process, which will enhance engagement.
Managing multigenerational expectations is another important factor to engaging and retaining talent. Looking back some 20 years to my early career in the recruitment industry as an example, some employer’s expectations in this sector was that to become a successful consultant, newcomers of all ages would be expected to work excessive hours (in the office) that were way beyond the already long standard hours of 8.30-6pm. Only when you had ‘earnt your stripes’ through length of service, or being a very high achiever, did employer expectations change, and flexibility would then become an option for those bold enough to ask. As such it was unsustainable, as recruitment employers found it increasingly difficult to attract talent at a time when attrition levels were very high and the loss of experienced recruiters in the industry were significant.
Now, in my third decade of working life, I have found that where an employer has the optimum combination of openness to flexible working, and a culture of trust, that together this approach has engaged and retained talented individuals of all ages and empowered them to perform regardless of tenure.
So, should employer’s expectations be different for each generation? In my view, everyone has their own drivers and expectations; some are generational and some are individual. By having the right EVP that truly reflects your business, and by investing in recruiters and hiring managers to be skilled interviewers as well as EVP ambassadors, employers will be able to identify each candidates’ drivers early. That will, in turn, maximise engagement and enable employers and candidate’s expectations to be matched more consistently, which is key to retaining multigenerational talent.
Going beyond

By hearing the voice of our candidates and employees through skilled interviewing and engagement surveys, we are able to ascertain that in a competitive market, it’s not just salary that employers should be focusing on. It’s the less tangible elements, like being listened to, social responsibility and company culture aspects that need to be considered. Another key way to address multigenerational engagement is through a comprehensive and flexible benefits package; one that allows your employees to tailor elements to suit them and making sure it fits individual situations and needs. That could be additional leave, income protection or private medical insurance, a bike to work scheme or a season ticket loan.
Above all, it’s important to remember that every person in your office, regardless of generation, should be valued for the diverse skills and unique perspective that they bring to the workplace. By understanding your employees, you’ll undoubtedly create a positive, attractive and productive workplace.

If you have any thoughts or questions, or would like to find out more about our services please contact us.



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