When many HR articles talk about a "blended workforce" they are referring to a blend of different schedules and work contracts: freelancers, full-time, part-time, etc., but we're not.There's another type of blending that today's workforce needs, and it may be even more important: The blending of generations.
This shouldn't be a hard task if it is installed into the recruiting and orientation process from the beginning. Generations will do a lot less complaining about each other if they recognize what the other can bring to the table. Perspective is key in this instance and the entire workplace needs to be on the same page for this to work. While age groups do have their differences, every group has something to offer from their varying learning experiences.
Baby boomers, considered born before the early 1960's are some of the most experienced people in their industries today. They've seen a lot of trends and a lot of turnover. This has taught them the value of patience. They also grew up more mechanized and are highly inclined to view business as a machine that needs to run well.
Generation X stretches roughly from the 1960s to 1980. These workers have a lot of experience as well, but they also tend to be adaptable and willing to strike out on their own for better positions or increased compensation. This combination makes them attractive for talent acquisition.
Born around 1980-1995, have entered the workplace in full force. This generation grew up with rapidly advancing technology. They're not only used to recruiting technology for their own use, but they are also used to learning new technology on demand, making them skilled problem solvers. They tend to be more holistic than previous generations and driven for self-improvement.
We haven't seen much of Generation Z in the workplace yet, but what we have seen we like. This generation is even more skilled with technology than their parents – but not as likely to become distracted or obsessed with it. They appreciate human connection and real-world conversations while still optimistic about trying to find their place in the world.
The sad thing is unless a company actively pushes to hire multigenerational talent, they tend to develop alarming shortages in leadership positions. Like tends to hire like and it is usually the founders of a company that set the original precedent for which age groups are the ones to be hired. Companies that embrace a blend of generations have what Greg Hammill of FDU Magazine calls "The Power of Four." You get assets like experience, leadership, adaptability, and emotional investment. Age groups really are stronger together, as is the business for it. Not to mention, the negatives of each generation are nullified when each one comes together to work towards the same goals.
The Sooner, The Better
There is a learning curve to this process and the sooner you work at it, the sooner you can reap the benefits. Part of the challenge is figuring out how different generations respond to your industry and your culture. On the plus side, this affects all hiring practices, not just your goals for a blended workplace.
The Process Starts at Recruitment
Find out what talent shortages exist in your workplace before attempting to target your generational gaps. Doing this work up front will allow you to be more strategic when creating job descriptions, compensation and benefit packages, and deciding the necessary resources to target the ideal candidate pool. When attempting highly targeted recruiting, one size won’t work. Generations discover and engage differently, and any attempt to cut corners will be seen as disingenuous. Start developing strategies for a diverse and compliant workforce today. While figuring out this process, it is advised that you use your resources to ensure a consistent and fair recruitment process. Outside staffing agencies can also provide additional lift to avoid discrimination or legal issues while building out your internal process.
The information is out there, but the work that goes into gathering and analyzing it can be passed on to a qualified recruitment team, allowing you to focus on the business side of things. No one else can tackle solutions for generational shortages like a recruiting agency can. They can target specific generations by altering the channels, language, and procedure that they use. One-size-fits-all methods are not always the best approach.
The sooner you start developing strategies for a legal workforce, the better. Consider building a portfolio or analysis on how including a legal focus on generational differences can provide many recruitment benefits. Your company will thank you for it and your talent will be competitive with some of the top companies in your industry. As soon as you have a strategy, make sure you run it through the proper legal filter to ensure that you are in the clear and set up for success.
Not sure how to start? Puzzled on how to meet more applicants of a particular generation or talent set? If you want more articles like this, be sure to look out for our Salary Guide! You'll find plenty of insights in there that you can't find anywhere else. Get ahead of the curve and click below to start elevating your company.