How To: Manage an Age-Diverse Workforce

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Photo Credits - Yibei Geng via Unsplash

For many companies, having an age-diverse workforce has its benefits – although it also comes with its challenges. 

CIPD, in their report “Managing an age-diverse workforce: What employers need to know,” found that although there are challenges in maintaining an age-diverse workforce, the benefits far exceed that. 

Among the benefits reported, the main advantage of having an age-diverse workforce is the ability to share information across generations. This has provided many workplaces with nuanced knowledge and abilities that contribute to the success of the organisation. 

READ: UK’s Older Generation at Risk of Losing Jobs to AI

Benefits of Having an Age-Diverse Workforce

The CIPD report further detailed the benefits of having an age-diverse workforce. They established these into three; knowledge sharing, enhanced perspectives and enhanced customer experience. 

Benefits of having an age-diverse workforce

Knowledge Sharing

The report was based on research done on two age groups, 25-40-year-olds in London and 40-65-year-olds in Leeds. 

Across both age groups, they identified knowledge sharing as a key benefit of having an age-diverse workforce. Both groups value the variety of knowledge and skills available in an age-diverse workforce. 

The younger group value their ability to learn from the experience of their older colleagues, while the older group value learning new skill sets from their younger counterparts. 

Having an age-diverse workforce boosts collaboration across generations. 

Different Perspectives

Similar to knowledge sharing, the research participants also identified having different perspectives as a benefit. The two generations felt that they had different approaches to one another. This then allows for new perspectives as discussions happen. 

The younger employees are often quick at acting and deciding, while the older employees tend to take more comprehensive measures. It was agreed by the two groups that there is a place for both perspectives in the workplace.

Further, the varying perspectives can also foster new ideas. 

Enhanced Customer Experience

Customer-oriented organisations can also benefit by having an age-diverse workforce. Having a mix of personalities and ages in customer-facing roles will help customers to have a better connection to the business. 

This is driven by the need to connect with the different types of customers. By having diverse employees, customers can be matched with employees that are suited to their personalities. 

Knowing What the Different Age Groups Want in Age-Diverse Workforce

One of the main challenges in having an age-diverse workforce is to be able to accommodate the variety of needs that the employees may have. Across generations, there are different habits and attitudes – all contributing to a variety of employee expectations. 

What Older Workers Want

Older workers desire workplaces that recognise the value of their experience and offer meaningful engagement.

Flexibility is crucial, with older employees seeking sincere interest from managers in their personal lives, allowing for adaptable schedules that accommodate family and health needs. Pay equity based on job value, not just tenure, is appreciated, along with frequent pay periods and responsiveness to inflation. 

Accommodations for physical challenges and clear, candid communication build trust, fostering a positive environment. Additionally, older workers value workplaces that promote community and camaraderie, injecting a sense of fun into daily tasks. 

Lastly, addressing ageism through targeted messaging and inclusion initiatives ensures that older employees feel valued and contribute effectively to organisational success.

What Younger Workers Want

Younger workers, especially Gen Z, are shifting workplace expectations. They are known to seek benefits that resonate with their distinct values. 

Flexibility is a key priority, with a strong preference for paid leave and adaptable working hours, showcasing their desire for independence in shaping their workdays. A healthy work-life balance holds significant importance, challenging traditional career ladder notions. 

Surprisingly, as reported by Benify, Gen Z places considerable value on pension benefits. This displays a mature approach to long-term financial security. Mobility benefits, such as flexible transport options, are also crucial, offering them the freedom to choose their work settings. 

Mental well-being recognition isn’t just a perk; it’s considered a standard offering, emphasising the importance of employers who prioritise and support mental health. 

To engage and retain younger workers effectively, organisations must grasp and cater to these evolving values, fostering a workplace that embraces flexibility, well-being, and a progressive benefits approach

READ: Johnson & Johnson Manager Who Was Told She Operates on “African Time” Wins Racial Profiling Case

How to Motivate an Age-Diverse Workforce

Motivating a workforce spanning various age groups demands a nuanced strategy that respects the diverse preferences of different generations. To boost overall engagement, consider tailored approaches. 

Start by grasping the distinct motivations of each age group, understanding that what motivates a Gen Z employee may differ from a baby boomer’s expectations. Introduce customised recognition programmes and rewards, such as flexible working hours for younger staff and robust pension benefits for those prioritising long-term financial security. 

Foster collaboration by involving employees in decision-making, ensuring that voices are valued regardless of age. Lastly, organise inclusive team-building activities and events that resonate across age brackets, creating a unified and motivated workplace culture.

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