The modern workforce is comprised of many different age groups, each with its own unique attitudes and perspectives. With Baby Boomers rapidly following the Silent Generation into retirement age, Gen Z, Millennials, Post-Millennials, and Generation X now make up the lion’s share of the American labor market. To create a work environment that facilitates teamwork between these generations, employers need to explore new ways to encourage collaboration and open communication between workers of different ages.
Read on to learn more about how companies today can help to integrate new generations into the traditional workplace.
How to Integrate Younger Generations Into the Workplace
The Baby Boomer generation dominated the American job market for decades, but since 2008, the oldest of these workers began to enter retirement age and have started leaving their jobs.1 Millennials have been filling this void and now constitute approximately 35% of the American labor force.2 At the same time, the youngest workers belonging to Gen Z are just starting to enter the workforce, joining the ranks of their Generation X and Millennial counterparts in employment positions across many different industries.
To create a productive workplace, business leaders will need to find new ways to cultivate collaboration between these older and younger workers. Here are a few simple but effective tips for integrating Gen Z workers into the workplace.
Embrace the Digital
Unlike previous generations, Millennials and Post-Millennials are far more likely to use emerging technologies in their daily lives. While 48% of individuals between the age of 18 and 29 report being online close to “constantly,” though, internet usage begins to drop considerably with age, and only 22% of people aged 50 to 64 are online with the same frequency.3 Similar trends are seen concerning certain mobile devices like laptop computers or iPods. While up to 74% of millennials use an MP3 player, ownership of these devices drops rapidly in older cohorts, at only 42% of Boomers.4
As younger generations are much more comfortable with navigating digital innovations, companies can potentially attract and retain these workers by encouraging the use of cutting-edge technologies throughout the workplace. By upgrading existing systems or using mobile apps to coordinate projects, companies can potentially attract and retain younger talent while simultaneously modernizing operations for greater efficiency.
Consider Team-Building Exercises
Another way to help integrate younger generations into the workplace is by organizing collaborative, team-work-oriented activities that promote communication skills and mutually beneficial cooperation. These exercises may include games, company luncheons, or team-building seminars where employees of different age groups can come together and learn from one another. When tackling work-related projects, think about creating eclectic teams comprised of workers from different generations, where the strengths of each worker can complement one another. For instance, if the objective is to build a website, consider having more experienced, older workers handle the fundamentals while younger employees manage more modern features like responsive web design or programming an AI chatbot for the homepage.
After hiring younger workers, it may help to pair them with dedicated mentors to help them adjust to their new careers. Experienced employees from older generations have a wealth of knowledge to pass on, and their expertise can prove invaluable in preparing Millennials or Gen Z workers for a variety of challenges they may face in the years ahead.
At the same time, younger workers can help senior staff members navigate using new methods, tools, and technologies that can streamline existing processes, empowering those from Generation X or Baby Boomers to discover better solutions to complex problems. This mutually beneficial arrangement can potentially result in greater productivity across the board as all generations in the workplace learn and grow together in a support of one another.
Offer Flexible Work Options
The shift to remote work is rapidly gaining momentum, and younger workers are especially attracted to jobs that allow for greater flexibility. In fact, an estimated 74% of millennials who currently work remotely report having no desire to return to a regular office environment if given a choice.5 Companies interested in recruiting younger candidates to fill open positions should think about giving employees greater control over their work environment, providing them with the option to work entirely remotely or split their time between the home and office.
In addition, business leaders may wish to explore allowing employees to create their own work schedules instead of confining them to a strict 9 to 5 schedule. After all, striking a work-life balance is a top concern for 81% of Millennials who are looking for employment opportunities.6 Although older workers tend to be more comfortable with predictable work hours, younger individuals starting their careers today value flexibility much more, making them far more likely to turn down a job or move on to another company when forced into a strict work regimen.
Create a Work Environment Conducive to Collaboration
The layout and aesthetics of a workplace can also have an impact on how employees interact with one another. To improve teamwork between various generations on the job, it may help to invest in collaborative spaces where employees can exchange ideas and operate more effectively together. This may include creating a more open floor plan for the office or simply converting a spare meeting room into a brainstorming area where senior employees and new hires can discuss projects in a less formal setting. To further encourage collaboration, some companies are even moving away from the conventional cubicle design in exchange for free-flowing layouts where the barriers dividing individual office spaces are less apparent.
At Resourcing Edge, our goal is to provide companies with top-tier recruiting solutions to fulfill their staffing needs. Our experienced team will take care of screening, interviewing, and hiring the talent your business needs so you can focus on growth and the long-term success of your company. Contact us today!
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