Abhinav Kumar, the founder of M-Vikas is a fervid believer of the fact, ‘The moment one conceives an idea, no matter how onerous the path maybe, once you set into action and put in diligent efforts, there is nothing that can restrict your way to success.’ Being a Chartered Accountant by profession, he never failed to prove his merit while practicing with the numerous firms he was associated with. In the year 2010, he resolved to secure the storage of the goods such as rice, grains and processed sugar in an organized manner and that is when he built a warehouse in the Brijnor district of Uttar Pradesh spread over an area of 1,40,000 sq feet.
Company culture plays the most significant role in determining how employees are treated, how ideas and products are developed, with whom partnerships and alliances are created and even how work gets done day-to-day. It is everything you can’t see, the secret sauce influencing how your talent works together. A healthy, positive company culture acts as a catalyst for growth in the following three ways:
- i) Healthy culture helps you attract top talent.
- ii) The best talent fuels innovation agility and high performance.
iii) Company growth follows, which improves top-line revenue and ultimately the bottom line.
The generational diversity in the workplace is growing. Presently, companies are employing people from up to four different generations; Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, Generation Z—and it’s no surprise that each generation has their own unique style, needs, goals, and traits for employers to consider.
Managing workforce diversity and developing an inclusive work culture is imperative for businesses that strive for efficient talent management. Gender, race, nationality, ethnicity and disability are some of the commonly used criteria for employee segmentation and diversity definitions. However, it may be interesting to note that workplaces of today have yet another unexplored diversity dimension, that of the generations. Social, political, cultural, economic and technological climates in which an individual grows up are responsible for certain beliefs and behavioural characteristics of him/her and thus birth year can act as a deciding factor behind segmenting generations. With organisations employing personnel with varied, multidisciplinary skills, the average bandwidth of employee ages has been stretched far and wide. It is therefore significant that organizational leaders do not ignore the need to manage this diversity and leverage the underlying generational differences in the best interests of the organization.
Expert knowledge of attitudinal differences between employees belonging to different generations required to be engaged in a collaborative manner, lays the foundation of the process of appreciating generational diversity. The wealth of tacit knowledge acquired through years of experience by cohort members of the elder generations goes un-captured. By understanding and managing generational diversity, one can infuse an array of benefits and perspectives to the workplace, such as improved talent attraction, retention and engagement, enhanced workplace productivity, increased competitive advantage that keep customers loyal and an expanded view of succession planning and building leadership bench strength, reports another research of relevance.
With every generation having its unique set of values, beliefs, attitudes and work ethics, it is important that every organisation keen on leveraging this diversity should make attempts to build a cohesive culture. The distinct cohorts must be able to co-exist and work together productively and effectively, with each cohort maintaining its unique identity. To this end, it is important that organisations should adopt structured talent management strategies, to avoid tensions between generations and maximise the benefits from the underlying differences.
How can one aim to achieve the best practices for approaching generational diversity?
By adopting the following practices, one can reap maximum benefits of generational diversity in the workplace and get ahead of any potential problems before they crop up:
- Watch out your recruiting strategies!
In order to benefit from generational diversity, one needs to be able to recruit people across generations as well. Ensure to distribute your vacancies via different channels, depending on where you can reach your potential candidates easily. Consider reaching out to Baby Boomers via your professional network or referrals and ever-connected Generation Z via interactive online campaigns. Be highly considerate about the power of social media recruiting since it is the social media that has created an umbrella across all generations.
- Refrain from making age-based assumptions & stereotyping
Stereotyping has always been the biggest obstacle when it comes to making a decision regarding recruitment are the worst—and whether they’re true or false, they’re not doing anyone any favors. If you plan to take complete advantage of your multigenerational workforce, refrain from making any assumptions or stereotyping based on age. Nevertheless, consider talking to your employees about their individual preferences and working styles.
- Talk to your employees to understand their needs.
Instead of making age-based assumptions about the needs of employees, take the time to listen to each employee and find out what they want. This will enable you to open all lines of communication, thereby improving your work efficiency and improving employee engagement.
- Adopt an employee customization approach!
Each employee has his/her own individuality with different preferences, goals, skills, weaknesses, and ways of communicating. Rather than generalizing and treating everyone the same, you should take a custom approach with each employee.
Think about customizing your approach and tailoring your style according to each individual improving working relationships and happier employees overall.
- Opt for varying communication styles.
Where on one hand the Baby Boomers opt for phone calls, Millennials prefer to communicate digitally through instant messaging and texting. The two younger generations are also more likely to enjoy working in a collaborative manner. Because each generation has different communication styles, you should adopt various styles of communicating with them and learn about each employee’s preference and style.
- Assemble age-diverse teams for different projects.
By creating projects with age-diverse teams, one can leverage the unique strengths of each generation, while also encouraging team members to collaborate and build relationships with one another. Consider for an example, a Gen Z employee might be aware of the latest technology and social media platforms, while an experienced Boomer might have invaluable knowledge of the industry you work in.
- Establish employee retention practices.
Employee turnover is not only costly but also bad for morale, putting an unnecessary strain on company’s day-to-day operations until a replacement is hired. By developing an effective employee retention program, you can address some of the pain points that cause employees to shift jobs.
Some of the most effective strategies for retaining talent despite cross-generational conflict include fostering teamwork, improving communication, and building a mentorship program.
While generational diversity in the workplace can be challenging for both employers and employees to navigate, it can also be a strong competitive advantage for companies that embrace it. By fostering a culture that celebrates collaboration, keeping the lines of communication open, and tailoring your approach to each individual, you can get ahead of any potential conflicts before they arise and reap all of the benefits of a multigenerational workforce.