There are currently four generations rubbing shoulders in Australia’s workforce: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. Each group has varying expectations of their employers and their career. As a business owner, your challenge is to understand the needs of this multigenerational group while still doing what’s best for your business.
Today’s employers have a unique opportunity to choose from a vast array of talent whose experiences of the world are significantly different. This multigenerational workforce has varying skillsets and ideas on culture. Nonetheless there is a chance to capitalise on the strengths of each group to develop a cohesive team. Understanding their similarities is a good place to start.
Technology as an enabler
Digital transformation is sweeping the nation. Many small businesses are already benefitting from technology’s ability to free up employees from mundane work. While Gen Z and millennials are digital natives, Gen X and Baby Boomers have been quick to adopt technologies that make tasks easy, fast and transparent. Canny employers are upskilling staff members to provide them with the skills they need to perform at their best. It’s a win for the business, increasing productivity and a win for staff as time-consuming manual processes are replaced with digital efficiencies. New technology is also changing how we work. Increasingly, business owners are looking to big data and predictive analytics to help them determine how to run their business. This makes training your staff to get the best out of today’s tech a no-brainer.
Flexible work is here to stay
Just as the face of the workforce is changing, so too, is the way we work. The demand for flexibility is increasing year-on-year with more business offering employees flexible working options than ever before¹. While the reasons behind the drive for flexible work is different for each generation – Baby Boomers may want flexibility as they ease towards retirement; millennials may be returning to work post children; Gen Z might want greater work-life balance. All generations seem to agree that flexibility is becoming less of a nice-to-have and more of a must-have. In fact, a recent survey² found 47 per cent of Australians would be willing to take a pay cut for more flexible work options. If you haven’t considered the option of flexible work or remote work for your staff, it’s time you put it on your agenda.
Create a pathway for growth and innovation
Providing your employees with clear opportunities for growth can add to their satisfaction. It allows them to feel valued by you and the business. Do your employees have access to mentoring? Encouraging mentoring and reverse mentoring (where younger generations can assist in bringing older generations up to speed) within your team, is a wonderful way to embrace the strengths of each generation. A recent Forbes study³ found 85 per cent of business leaders believe a diverse team provides greater opportunity for innovation. Cultivating the strengths and culture of your multigenerational team could allow your business to prosper. Where generational differences do exist, education and training can often be the solution. Fostering a culture of learning and growth allows employees to expand their skillsets and adds value to your business.
Working with a multigenerational team can have its challenges. However, smart employers are realising business growth often goes hand in hand with a diverse workforce. It’s important to understand age is just one element of the conversation. Instead, focus on recruiting employees from all generations with diverse talents and most of all ensure they access to the education and support they need to succeed.
TAFE Enterprise offers a range of short courses ideal for upskilling your staff. Learn more at TAFE Enterprise or call 1300 045 737 to discuss your training needs