Recruiting the Generations
Tips for Recruiting a Multi-Generational Workforce
With five generations of workers occupying the workforce, we hear a lot about how different generations are from one another and what that means for the workplace. Considering that the birth years of these workers span nearly a century and taking into account the immense technological advances during that time, it makes sense that employees from these different generations have very different work habits, communication styles, and desires for their careers. So, from a hiring manager’s perspective, the question becomes: how can I hire a diverse, multi-generational workforce that can work together and understand one another? Here are three tips for recruiting such a workforce.
1. Understand the generations
It is essential first to understand the different generations, and then we can discuss how to recruit a multi-generational workforce best. Each generation has unique characteristics shaped by the world around them during their formative years. Yes, we are using stereotypes to put people into broad categories. You will sometimes meet people who don’t fit the mold, but these characteristics are primarily valid for the age bands listed below.
Born between 1925 and 1945, the Silent Generation grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. They are known for their work ethic, respect for authority, and sense of duty. They also value privacy and tend to be less outspoken than other generations.
Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, grew up during a post-war economic boom. As a result, they value education, hard work, and loyalty to an employer.
Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, was known as latchkey kids with working parents. They are independent and strategic thinkers who place a high priority on balancing work and life responsibilities.
Millennials, born between 1981 and 1997, grew up in a more peaceful world and were often doted on by their parents. They are team-oriented and entrepreneurial, accustomed to constant feedback from teachers and coaches. They also have a different take on workplace friendships than past generations.
Finally, Generation Z is the newest generation entering the workforce. Born between 1998 and 2010, they are the first generation to grow up with technology as an integral part of life. This has influenced everything from how they communicate to their expectations for advancement.
Understand each generation’s workplace preferences
When recruiting, it is essential to consider what type of workplace each generation prefers. For example, the Baby Boomers and Generation X tend to like a more formal office environment, where there are clear hierarchies and boundaries and an emphasis on getting the job done. Millennials and Gen Z, by contrast, prefer a relaxed work environment that supports collaboration and creativity. When recruiting, offering options is key to attracting the most significant number of workers.
2. Communicate with employees from different generations
Effective communication is the best way to ensure that all employees from different generations are on the same page. So understanding how different generations prefer to receive communication becomes a critical skill. For example, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers generally prefer face-to-face or written communication. In contrast, Millenials and Gen Zers prefer digital communication methods such as texting, email, and social media. Therefore, it is vital to be aware of these differences and adjust communication methods accordingly.
Another way to attract employees from different generations is to promote advancement opportunities. For example, Millennials are often looking for opportunities for growth within their careers, while Baby Boomers seek stability and job security. Offering a variety of advancement opportunities can appeal to a diverse workforce.
3. Utilize generational differences to your advantage
When hiring managers can understand how different generations approach work and interact with their coworkers, they will maximize the benefits of having generational differences in the workplace. For example, baby boomers prefer clear boundaries within the workplace, which millennials view as limiting collaboration. By working together to make sure all employees are utilizing the talent of each generation, managers can create a diverse workplace that welcomes the input of all generations.
It is crucial to keep in mind that different generations of workers have preferences for communicating and working within the office. Understanding these differences can help you when recruiting a multi-generational workforce by helping you craft job postings and messaging that appeal to the communication styles of each generation. For example, employing a multi-generational workforce enables your company to utilize generational differences to create a diverse work environment where each generation feels valued for their unique contributions and uses the skills and talents that each of these groups brings to the table.