Managing four generations

Did you know that 98% of the actual workforce is formed by four generations? Who are those four generations? How to manage them? How does this diversity bring success to the business? How do companies like Pfizer, CVS and Hewlett Packard are reintegrating older generations into their workforce? 

From tech to business to real estate, four generations integrate the actual workforce. These generations are Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. Currently, the Baby Boomers (55 to 73 years old) share 15% of the global workforce. This year, this generation will drop on workforce share while Gen Z is already rising.

In this blog, l will tell you who these generations are, which are their different skills, how companies are managing and integrating these generations to bring success to the business.

 

Which are the four generations that integrate the workforce? 

Part of my job is attending sales meetings. I enjoy meeting people from all these different generations, and besides this, my team is formed mostly by Gen Z. It’s very interesting to have conversations with them and to see how Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Gen Z bring diversity into companies. 

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers is the generation born between 1946-1964. They are called the baby boom generation because women had an average of 3.7 kids during that period. They are currently around 55-73 years old. According to the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2020, this generation shares 15% of the workplace. 

Generation X 

Generation X was born between 1965-1980. They are currently around 39 and 54 years old. This generation has been into many different social movements such as the fall of the Berlin Wall or new music genre like Grunge. Currently, this generation shares 33% of the workforce.

Millennials 

I think we all know them right? Millennials were born between 1981 and 1995. They are currently 23-39 years old. This generation grew up watching 9/11 and creating a whole new digital world. They currently share 40% of the global workforce.

Gen Z 

The new rising generation that is entering into the work field. This generation was born between 1996 and 2012. They are between 7 and 25 years old. They have never been without the internet before, and they are very interested in making a positive social impact in society. This year, they will reach 32% of the global population, surpassing the number of millennials. Gen Z currently represents 10% of the workforce share. 

In total, these four generations represent 98% of the global workforce share. The other 2% is made by generations older than Baby Boomers. You can read more in the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2020. Also, you can read more about Millennials and Gen Z in our blog “Differences between Millennials and Gen Z“. 

 

Generational Workforce
Generational Workforce. Source: Linkedin

Which are the skills of these different generations? 

From tech to business to real estate, these four generations have different skills. If we go back to the background facts that these generations have experienced and formed them, then it is understandable what kind of skills they have. For example, Gen Z has a larger share of people with python programming skills than any other generation, while older generations have more business or real estate skills. However, Linkedin reports show that every generation is investing time to learn new skills. It’s never too late to learn new skills!

Here are the skills that each generation is performing:

Generational Skills. Source: Linkedin
Generational Skills. Source: Linkedin

 

These skills represent the real trend and needs of each generation, and of course, the generational gap that companies are now experiencing. For example, the struggles with innovation and technology. These generational skills are helpful for people in general, companies and the world. Each person has unique skills and backgrounds, and this brings really positive effects to companies. This is one of the reasons why we believe in the power of Gen Z, and how their new and fresh ideas complement the business-wise experience of older generations.

How to manage four generations and how
diversity bring success to the business? 

As mentioned before, Millennials and Generation X are the ones who are more actively working. Gen Z is rising, some of them are students and have part-time jobs, and others just got their first entry-level job. Because of these part-time jobs, the gig economy is also rising and growing during 2020. The gig economy is made of workers who get and deliver a project or a job that is assigned through online platforms, such as apps or websites. In this way, young workers respond to fast-moving conditions.

The gig economy is one way to manage the younger generations as it offers flexible hours, while older generations have more stability with full-time jobs. To manage these four generations is important that you know and understand what each generation requires (in general terms), but also don’t forget to treat each person as a unique individual and not to label a person according to its generation.

Companies are on the need for integrating Gen Z, and because of this, they are starting to implement new team building activities, mentoring programmes, changing company’s mission and vision as well as benefits that they offer to their employees. They are even changing the layout of the offices to have better communication and integrity within cross-functional teams and leadership. These actions aren’t only to manage employees but to promote diversity. Creating a team with different skills will bring ideas, motivation and passion to come up with innovation and growth of the business. Also, it will create empathy between the team members, as they can learn from each other.

And talking about learning from each other, another way of bringing diversity and mentoring programmes or in simple words “not letting wisdom getaway”, is how companies are developing “longevity strategies” to retain older workers and keep them engaging and proposing.

How do companies like Pfizer, CVS and HP are reintegrating older generations into their workforce? 

 

Pfizer Internship Programme.

Inspired by the movie “The Intern” (starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway) Pfizer, back in 2016, created a Corporate Affairs internship program, where Sally Susman, an EVP at Pfizer, thought that there was a lot to be gained by adding an older person. Susman invited Paul Critchlow, a 70- year old man, to join the program. He sat in an open-desk plan with three other interns; the quartet nicknamed themselves the Fantastic Four. Paul taught his communication skills and work-life balance advice, and the younger interns taught him social media techniques and how to work with millennials. You can read more about it here

CVS: Talent is Ageless Programme.

In 2017, CVS Health established the Talent is Ageless Programme. This program was made for mature workers in the U.S. The company believed that originality and new ideas have no age limit and those mature workers would bring special value focused to their mission of helping people on their path to better health. The programme focused on three main priorities: compassionate caring people, working together and discovering you. You can read more about it here

Reboot your career by Hewlett Packard Enterprise 

This programme, compared with the Pfizer and the CVS programmes, is for talents who took time away to raise children, care for a loved one, or follow other pursuits. The company believes that people are the heart of what they do and this the reason why they created the reboot your career programme. You can read more about how it works here.

Summary  

Having all these generations working at the same time bring energy, motivation, creativity and innovation to the companies but also can cause conflicts or negative frictions. Company’s leaders should promote understanding, respect, inclusion and collaboration. Leaders need to take time to have personal conversations with their employees to understand their needs, give guidance to promote solutions and most important to identify and prevent conflicts.

As mentioned before, don’t let wisdom go away and look for it within your colleagues. Employees from all kind of ages are always happy to share knowledge, advice, help and create activities to avoid conflict. Provide constant feedback and make them know that their work matters. Be flexible with your employees and understand that everyone has a different personality and way of management and leadership.

I could keep writing many techniques and ideas about this, but for the moment I hope that you find this information useful and that it provided you with fresh ideas to implement within your business. If you have any comment or doubt, please do not hesitate in contacting me. I will be more than happy to have a conversation with you.

 

Source: MACLEAN’S, LinkedIn 2020 global talent trends, LinkedIn, CVS, Hewlett Packard 

 

Share this article