The Power of Two: 7 strategies for motivating your multigenerational workforce
In January, 25-year-old Maxwell Frost, D-Florida, was sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives. As the youngest member of Congress his election signaled that Gen Z had joined the world workforce.
With five different generations, Congress represents the ultimate example of a multigenerational workplace. It’s now increasingly common in all industries to find those encompassing four or more generational sets. Each age-group has varying needs and expectations, because of this, it is key for businesses to design employee benefits programs — including a communication plan — that cater to all generations.
Here are seven strategies to ensure you are meeting the needs of all your employees:
Conduct a generational analysis
Understand the characteristics and preferences of each generation. Analysis can provide insights into the values, priorities, and lifestyles of different age groups. Carefully learn your team: work-life balance needs, career development goals, health care needs, and retirement planning. By understanding these differences, organizations can tailor their benefits program according to the needs of each diverse group.
Offer flexible work arrangements
Remote work options and flexible hours are highly valued by employees across all demographics. Younger teams often seek work-life balance and greater flexibility. Older employees may appreciate the opportunity to transition into retirement gradually. Providing options will help both attract and retain employees of all ages and enhance overall professional fulfillment and worker productivity.
Provide appropriate health and wellness programs
Well-being benefits are vital for all employees, but the specific needs vary among different peer groups. In our experience, employees early in their careers might prioritize things like gym memberships or mental health support such as an Employee Assistance Program. Their midcareer colleagues often seek out robust family plans and financial wellness tools. Employees ramping down their careers might want preventive care, chronic disease management, or access to retirement planning resources. If you can address all the unique needs of each associate, you will promote overall well-being and employee satisfaction.
Encourage professional development
Career opportunities are very important for all generations, but the desired methods and formats do differ. Keep in mind that younger staff may value mentorship programs, skillbuilding workshops, clear paths for advancement, and access to online learning platforms. On the other hand, others may appreciate advanced technology training, options for phased retirement, knowledge transfer programs, and the opportunity to engage in meaningful projects. Providing a range of professional development initiatives fosters a learning culture that appeals to each and all your employees.
Customize retirement and financial planning
Retirement planning is critical for everyone. Employees just starting out often focus on their retirement savings while elder workers nearing retirement require guidance on transition plans and IRA/401(k) catch-up programs. Offering specific planning resources, financial education programs, and personalized retirement savings options will support employees at various stages of their careers and help them prepare for a secure future. Safeguarding that your team is retirement-ready allows an organization to effectively prepare for both promotions and successions.
Encourage ‘intergenerational’ collaboration
Team members just launching their careers can (and need to) learn from the experience and wisdom of their more practiced colleagues. In turn more seasoned employees can gain fresh perspectives and insights from younger team members. Encouraging and arranging for “intergenerational” knowledge sharing sessions and collaboration can improve engagement, innovation, and a sense of unity within the organization while at the same time, building on everyone’s valuable knowledge base.
Tailor communication approaches
Within a multigenerational workforce, finding the right communication method is crucial. We often see older teammates favoring face-to-face, phone conversations and voicemail messages. Colleagues who fall in the middle-age range often rely on email. Younger employees often prefer to communicate via texting, instant messaging apps, and video platforms.
In the realm of employee benefits, reaching employees where they are is essential to the success of a program. Recently, we assisted a client in creating an enhanced communication plan to increase participation in their benefits package. With employees spanning from Baby Boomers to Gen Z, we knew that no single communication method would suffice. We built a communication strategy encompassing traditional printed materials, employee portals, regular emails, and text messages. In addition, our team recorded video snippets which were loaded on the portal and embedded in the electronic benefit guides. Our client saw substantial increased participation and satisfaction with their benefits program by using this variety of messaging styles.
At the end of the day, accommodating the diverse needs of your workforce enhances employee engagement and loyalty. Avoiding false stereotypes and recognizing and adjusting to the differing perspectives and experiences of your varied team will lead to a healthier organization where everyone can thrive together.