Harnessing the power of diversity at work
- If you are reading this article and still working, chances are you are somewhere between the silent gen and the gen Z.
- The workplace has become more diverse by age to encompass different age groups.
- The different age groups include the Silent Generation (1928-1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1995) and Generation Z (1996-2010 ).
If you are reading this article and still working, chances are you are somewhere between the silent gen and the gen Z.
The workplace has become more diverse by age to encompass different age groups. The different age groups include the Silent Generation (1928-1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1995) and Generation Z (1996-2010 ).
Understanding age diversity is important for a variety of reasons. This will enable your organization to harness the different strengths presented by each generation and to avoid and manage conflict. Understanding this diversity will help your organization attract and retain the right staff.
Just as different people have different languages of love and different personalities have different needs, so different generations have different approaches and needs to work.
The key to doing it right is understanding the languages and needs of different generations and harnessing strengths while dealing with weaknesses.
Understanding age diversity helps your organization improve performance, broaden skills, open up different perspectives, reduce turnover, and facilitate mentoring where the older generation can mentor the younger.
A diverse workforce means you’ll have diverse perspectives as well. People will see it from a different perspective. A good manager will make room for divergent points of view and exploit those points of view for the good of the organization.
A rigid manager, however, will insist that things were done from their own individual perspective. The organization can miss out on the benefits of diversity if the manager is too rigid.
An example of a diverse organization is where the owner is part of the silent generation, the board members are baby boomers, generation X includes the director and CEO while millennials and gen Z are the staff.
Members of the silent generation are the “old school” people we have in our organizations. They have a very strong work ethic. They are very hardworking and loyal to the staff.
They have great respect for authority and these include regulators and government authorities, they are good spenders and have a lot of willpower. Their main challenge is that they are not tech-savvy.
Baby Boomers have a strong work ethic and are very confident, disciplined and team oriented. Baby boomers grew up in very disciplined homes.
They therefore need structures and discipline. The downside is that they can be resistant to change and overly competitive. They have an excessive desire for recognition.
Generation x has the best of both worlds being the middle generation. They are tech-savvy, open to change, flexible, informal and enjoy challenges.
They are spendthrift and prefer flexible hours. Millennials are tech savvy, enthusiastic, confident and invest in social causes.
They don’t have a strong work ethic like respecting work hours, preferring instead to be judged on results.
Millennials make up the highest percentage of the workforce, so it’s important to understand them.
To attract and retain different age groups, it is important to consider their needs. Performance and reward should not be skewed too much to favor an age group.
The employment contract and policies need to be very personalized. However, a balance between individual needs and harmonization should be evident. Otherwise, there is a risk of litigation related to discriminatory labor practices.
Diversify your management to include different generations. In this way, the voice of each generation will be heard when making the decision.