EJ Leif, Grays Peak Strategies
According to Gallup News, young Americans aged 18-30 predict a younger retirement age than those older than 30. Why is this relevant? The older members of a company are working longer before retiring, creating more of an age gap and more generations in one given workplace than before. Now that may seem like an obvious statement, but what isn’t as obvious to people are the benefits from working in a multigenerational workplace.
Having a multigenerational team is a form of diversity.
Each generation brings something unique to the office. Millennials may be noted for their expertise in technology and ways to stay relevant, Gen-Xers may be known to be innovative, and Baby-boomers may be known for the relationships they have with the work itself. Every member and every generation may have its “strong suit;” however, that is not to deny that there are millennials with extreme dedication to their work or Baby Boomers who stay up on the latest and greatest technology. The benefit though, is that where one person may be a little weaker, they can learn from someone with more experience with that area and become stronger. It is a way to make each individual on the team stronger while benefitting the team as a whole as well.
Mentoring is a great way to train and create community.
As the older team members get closer and ready for retirement, having them mentor new and young team members is not only a way to strengthen all their skills as mentioned previously, but also a way to ensure that the work being done by those getting ready to leave is able to smoothly transition into the hands of the next generation. This is of particular value when clients are involved as the desire should be to make the transition as easy for them as possible. This also benefits the company as it can help create a positive morale when a successful mentoring program is set up and both parties are benefitting from the relationship.
There are some challenges to face as an employer with a multigenerational workforce.
While the benefits would definitely outweigh the challenges in this scenario, that does not mean they should not be acknowledged. One of the challenges is for employees and employers to have an open mind as the ages in the workplace become more diverse. There are a few ways for employers to embrace this opportunity to grow their teams. The first way is for employers to make their HR more accessible in the way that works best for the different generations using HR. Another way to help all employees perform to the best of their abilities is to be clear on what is asked of them both in their role and in a given task or project. Being specific can help avoid confusion and can guide employees to the desired result, but don’t forget to be open and receptive to the feedback they provide as well!
(AUTHORS NOTE) When given the opportunity, always choose a multigenerational workplace.
The vast amount of knowledge I have gained in my very short time in the workplace would easily be cut in half if I did not have the experience of working with people from different generations. From a psychological standpoint, there is something to be said for observational learning and imitating the actions of others when you are trying to learn something. Older generations are essential for teaching younger generations how the business is run and I, personally, have learned so much about how to even simply conduct oneself in situations in business by observing. The benefits one gains from the multigenerational workforce may be simple nuances such as this, or they may be more drastic, such as a mentor that one keeps in close contact with even when the senior mentor has retired, but the point remains that in these moments a sense of community is forming and age is not a factor.
 Newport, F. (2018). Snapshot: Average American predicts retirement age of 66. Gallup News. Retrieved from: https://news.gallup.com/poll/234302/snapshot-americans-project-average-retirement-age.aspx
 American Management Association (2019). Leading the four generations at work. Retrieved from: https://www.amanet.org/articles/leading-the-four-generations-at-work/
 Fecto, M. (2019). Making the most of the multigenerational workforce: A Q&A with Paycor CHRO Karen Crone. HR Dive. Retrieved from: https://www.hrdive.com/news/making-the-most-of-the-multigenerational-workforce-a-qa-with-paycor-chro/558879/
 AAI Staff (2019). Tips for thriving as a multi-generational workplace. Adventure Associates. Retrieved from: https://www.adventureassoc.com/multi-generational-workplace/