The Multigenerational Workforce

Managing a Multigenerational Workforce
For the first time in modern history, the workforce is composed of four generations of employees–Traditionalists (born before 1946), Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1965), Generation X (born between 1966 and 1980) and Generation Y/Millennials (born between 1981 and 2000). Because each generation came of age in a distinct era, each is believed to have its own—and often vastly different— perspective on such critical business issues as leadership, communication, problem solving, and decision making. 1While these differences can drive creativity, they can also cause a variety of challenges. According to a study by Lee Hecht Harrison, 60% of employers are experiencing intergenerational conflict. PI Worldwide’s own research on this topic points to communication style and decision-making as the two greatest sources of differences in multi-generational work environments. Understanding the events and influencing factors that shaped each generation is helpful context, yet doesn’t provide enough clarity given our diverse society to understand or predict any individual’s workplace behaviours.Companies that are able to tap into behavioural data to understand their workforce at the individual and group levels will be in a better position to hire, develop, and retain talent in the future. This scientifically-valid approach measures behavioural drives and motivating needs to give valuable, actionable insight into the five most common workplace behaviours that impact performance:
Communication– Does the individual tend to connect quickly or not as quickly with others?
Decision-Making– What is the individual’s comfort level with risk?
Team-participation– Does the individual tend to be more task-oriented or people-oriented?
Taking Action– Is the individual more proactive or responsive when it comes to taking action?
Delegation– Does the individual prefer to delegate or be delegated to in a formal or informal manner?
As workforce dynamics continue to become more global, organisations can stay ahead of the curve by leveraging workforce analytics to plan for both current and future workforce needs. High performing organisations are creating competitive success by leveraging behavioural assessments to improve employee engagement, productivity and ultimately retention with their multigenerational workforces.
1 AARP, Leading a Multigenerational Workforce (2007)
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