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Employment: Multiple Generations in Play

The highly diverse U.S. workforce is comprised of five generations, all with their own set of values, needs and desires. What does this mean to employers? It means in order to draw the best talent, hiring managers must cater to each group in a mindful, strategic manner.

Appealing to all five workforce age groups requires implementation of multiple communication and management strategies to suit the peculiarities of each age group, it also demands custom-tailored staffing and recruiting techniques to effectively attract and retain top talent.

So who are we then, as a workforce in this country? The five generations in today’s workforce, by years of birth are:

Traditionalists (1925-1945) – Traditionalists worked long before the rise of internet and prefer in person, face-to-face communication.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964) – Boomers are very traditional and competitive by nature and can be deemed rigid to corporate policies.

Generation X  (1965-1980) – Gen X-ers are typically independent and self-reliant.

Millennials Also referred to as Generation Y (1981-1995) – Millennials were born in the age of technology and are generally seen as optimistic. They prefer daily and constant feedback.

Generation Z  (1996-present) – Members of Generation Z are known as digital natives. They were born knowing all things digital and typically yearn for instant feedback from tasks and access to data.

In recent months, the more than 53 million-strong millennial workforce surpassed the amount of Baby Boomers, making one in three of American workers Millennials.

Marketers, advertisers and communicators already differentiate the way they work with these distinct generational groups, and its imperative employers do the same. Here are a few things to consider in multigenerational staffing:

  • Know what motivates each group – With the different communication styles, all generations have different things that motivate them. Some prefer competition, while others are more self-reliant.
  • Know where they are searching for jobs – Millennials and Gen Z are likely to be more active on social media and use platforms like LinkedIn when searching for jobs. Boomers may tend to job hunt on more traditional platforms and rely on referrals and relationships.
  • Know what incentives matter to them – When developing your company’s job descriptions, it is important employers highlight particular incentives or benefits that may be pertinent and more attractive to a certain generation.
  • Understand their differences in values – Traditionalists and Gen Z are likely to have contrasting values, and that is okay. When communicating, you cannot assume one generation values one thing over another, but you should realize that there will be differences among different types of people and preferences.

Written by Gregg Hassler

Gregg Hassler is the owner of Work Personnel Services – ghassler@atwork.com, 951.297.3591 ext. 101.

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