How To Embrace Generational Diversity For A Secure, Flexible and Inclusive Workplace 

The last decade has seen five generations in the workforce for the first time. And generational diversity is becoming more important as people live longer and retire later. Many older workers are returning to employment too, due to the rising cost of living. Each generation – and individual – has a different outlook and needs (e.g. remote working vs. office-based) which impact employment.

In our 2023 Skills, Attraction and Retention Report, we confirmed that more organisations operating in the North of England are now prioritising age diversity – from 59% in 2022 to 64% in 2023. This may be a small rise but it’s a significant one nonetheless, as it shows how age diversity remains a key factor for organisations considering ways to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

In this article, we highlight six strategies that successful companies are adopting to build and retain an age-diverse workforce:

  • Reinforcing Security and Stability
  • Promoting Financial Wellness
  • Redefining Career Journeys
  • Becoming Menopause-Friendly
  • Bridging the Digital Divide
  • Creating a Multigenerational Team Culture

reinforcing security and stability

Contrary to the headlines, it’s essential to note that not everyone is quitting their job. In fact, a significant portion of the workforce remains committed to their current employer. Employee satisfaction with no plans to leave has actually remained stable at around 50% since 2019. However, the focus on retention has sharpened, and the reasons for staying in your job vary by generation.

Gen Z values inspiring leadership, while Baby Boomers prioritise vacation and time-off policies. Regardless of generation, a common thread that unites employees across age groups is concern for job security. In this context, fostering an organisational culture that acknowledges these concerns and proactively addresses them, is vital to retaining a committed and engaged workforce.

promoting financial Wellness

Financial security is another universal concern among employees, cutting across generations, geographies, and industries. Many organisations now offer a living wage, but there’s room for improvement in tailoring financial benefits to individual needs. The overarching importance of financial well-being is a common thread that unites workers from diverse backgrounds.

Organisations are finding value in shifting the conversation from pay to wealth, which can significantly impact employees’ financial outlook. A reframing of the dialogue holds the potential to yield positive effects on the financial outlook of individuals by empowering employees to navigate the intricate terrain of financial stability with greater confidence and peace of mind.

redefining career journeys

As jobs evolve, companies can reshape how employees view their careers, especially younger workers desiring dynamic paths. Organisations are increasingly focused on enabling employees to contribute for longer, aligning with Government plans to increase the retirement age. This requires a proactive career path design that accommodates older workers’ changing skillsets and motivations.

Unilever, a globally renowned multinational consumer goods company, recognised the imperative for a versatile work model that could adeptly respond to the evolving needs of its diverse workforce. In response, they unveiled the “U-Work” scheme, where staff can maintain their permanent employment status, while simultaneously allowing time for learning, caregiving, or even partial retirement.

becoming menopause friendly

One aspect of managing generational diversity is addressing the specific needs of employees, particularly women over the age of 50, who may experience menopausal symptoms at work. The workplace has often been silent about menopause, creating discomfort among employees. The fear of judgment from colleagues and management has been a significant barrier to open dialogue.

Progressive organisations are taking steps to become menopause-friendly. They are offering online health webinars to enhance awareness of women’s health issues and providing policy and guidance fact sheets. More importantly, they are fostering a culture where menopause can be discussed openly. This proactive approach is crucial for creating an inclusive and supportive work environment.

bridging the digital divide

Technology integration is paramount in a modern age-diverse workplace. Alongside running digital literacy training programs that cater to employees with varying levels of tech proficiency, organisations are encouraged to invest in intuitive software and applications with user-friendly interfaces, as well as collaborative messaging, video conferencing, and document-sharing tools.

By integrating technology thoughtfully and inclusively, modern organisations can bridge the digital divide, ensuring that all employees, regardless of their generational background, can work collaboratively and effectively in today’s digital age. This approach not only boosts productivity but also promotes a culture of learning and mutual support among employees of different generations.

creating a multigenerational team culture

To achieve a multigenerational team culture, organisations must foster an environment where employees of different age groups can work together effectively. In addition to what’s already discussed above, factors such as encouraging open communication, fostering mentorship and reverse mentoring, and establishing cross-generational teams will all help facilitate cultural transformation 

Creating a multigenerational team culture is more than having diverse age groups in the workplace; it’s about leveraging this diversity to drive innovation, enhance problem-solving, improve communication, and boost overall productivity and performance. Organisations that nurture diverse talents are better positioned to thrive in today’s complex and ever-changing business landscape.

And Finally…

… Relatable organisations lead the way. In its 2022–2023 Global Talent Trends report the US consulting firm, Mercer, highlighted how high growth and innovative organisations are “becoming more human and, in turn, more relatable.” According to Mercer, in a world of diverse generational perspectives and evolving career paths, these relatable organisations are at the forefront of creating inclusive and dynamic age-diverse workplaces.

The research characterises relatable organisations as ones that prioritise open dialogue, flexibility, and support for all employees, regardless of age or background. As we move forward, it’s clear that embracing generational diversity and encouraging inclusivity will be the keys to success, helping employees across five generations earn, learn, and laugh together in the workplace of the future.

How is your organisation embracing generational diversity? Nigel Wright Group has employees from different generations based at all of our UK and European offices. Generational diversity is something we take very seriously, and initiatives aimed at creating a multigenerational team culture form a core part of our wider diversity and inclusion efforts.

Author: Andrew Openshaw – Writer and Content Specialist, Nigel Wright Group.

Photo credit: iStock

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