Articles | July 21, 2020

Smart Strategies for Working Across Generations

If you’re part of your organization’s human resources team, you already understand that your department is where life meets work. From paid time off and healthcare to breakroom policies and retirement parties, you serve as the touchstone between policy and people. And that’s also why you understand how workers from different generations bring with them a wide range of expectations of what work should be, and how important it is for your HR strategies to match those expectations.

The HR strategies you relied on 15, 10 or even five years ago may no longer match the reality of your workforce, and as a result your ability to recruit, retain and recruit, retain and inspire the workforce you desire may suffer. Fortunately, you’re not alone in recognizing this problem. We can arm you with the strategic framework and actions necessary for you to meet your present and future workforce needs.

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The keys to recruiting and retaining the next generation of superstars

According to our research, millennials (those born roughly between the mid-80s to the late 90s) and members of Generation Z (born between the late 90s and 2010) will comprise 75 percent of the American workforce by 2025. And while these generations of workers show a great deal of loyalty to employers, they still seek out workplaces with an environment and culture that matches their expectations.

This means more than adding stock photos of tattooed workers to the next edition of the employee handbook. Millennials and Gen Zs expect to work in an organization that broadly reflects their own values and also provides frequent feedback and opportunities for personal growth. With that in mind, a great place to start assessing your organization’s attractiveness to a new generation of workers is by asking yourself the following questions: 

  • Do you stand for something beyond profit? The younger generations of workers want to feel that their work contributes not just to their bottom line, but also to society. Your recruitment materials should reflect that fact, and outline the specific ways in which working at your organization will help make the world a better place. That work doesn’t end once you’ve hired your younger workers. You’ll want to remind these employees that they're working not just for a paycheck, but to make society a better place.
  • How often do employees change roles? Just because younger workers care about how their job relates to the wider world doesn’t mean you can neglect their professional growth. Millennial and Gen Z employees see their ideal career progress as less of a ladder and more of a web. By providing multiple opportunities for employees to grow their skills, you help retain employees hungry for a new experience while also helping them understand different parts of your organization.
  • Are you speaking their language when it comes to communications? Our research shows that when asked to rank their preferred method of work-related communications, younger employees placed email dead last. If you want to engage with this group, think twice before composing a 5,000-word email. Having a robust social media presence or developing an app goes a long way toward keeping the next generation of workers engaged with the organization, which in turn helps you retain valued employees.

These questions provide a good starting point for you to think about how your organization can better attract and retain younger employees, but they’re still just the tip of the iceberg. Repositioning an organization’s culture requires an overhaul of almost every aspect of the employee-employer relationship, including performance management processes, professional development efforts, rewards and recognition programs, benefits and wellness offerings and other leading HR practices.

How we can help

Our professionals partner with HR departments of every size in almost every type of organization imaginable. From higher education institutions to nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies, our clients bring to the table a wide spectrum of challenges that we help them meet. Get in touch today, and we’ll start a conversation about how we can work with your organization to make it ready for the next generation of workers.

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This page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. You are encouraged to discuss the issues raised here with your legal, tax and other advisors before determining how the issues apply to your specific situations.

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