A primary challenge for many companies will be to attract and retain a skilled work force as the labor market continues to tighten and technology continues to evolve. This situation is exacerbated as companies find themselves managing three generations of American workers, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y or Millennials. Each has their own characteristics, values, and attitudes toward work, based on life experiences. To successfully integrate these wildly different generations into the work atmosphere, companies will need to embrace competitive and innovative changes in recruitment, benefits, and a corporate culture that actively demonstrates respect and inclusion for a multigenerational work force. WorkSource offers key indicators to help you identify which candidates you are appealing to.
Baby Boomers are the “post WWII” generation, so it would make sense that this generation has put a higher priority on work over family or personal life. This generation values strong work ethic due to being raised in an era that involved the civil rights movement and inflation. They thrive on past achievements and are not big fans of change. This is a group that loves a company culture that values and prides itself on employee achievements, goal oriented, and a slow and steady company culture. Due to the recent crash in the economy and Social Security being threatened, many Baby Boomers will work well into retirement. A 2014 AARP survey showed that up to 60% of Baby Boomers will work at least part-time during retirement. When appealing to candidates, don’t count this generation out, as they are ultimately dedicated to work and financial security.
This generation makes up nearly 82 million Americans. That’s a good percentage of your workforce; roughly 22% to be exact. This generation embraces diversity and coined the work/life balance theme that is now wholly prevalent in today’s society; in large part due to the hippie movement and Vietnam. In appealing to this generation, you will find that many of these candidates are highly educated, technically savvy, quick to learn new skills, and very adaptive in a post-downsizing environment. They thrive on challenges, change, and balance—which means that your benefits packages should reflect as much when appealing to this era of candidates.
Generation Y, more commonly known as Millennials, were born between the 80’s-late 90’s. This group currently makes up the vast majority of the workforce; 36 percent of it. Millennials are considered very socially connected and social media driven. They embrace diversity and equality among colleagues and management. They are the first global-centric era, allowing philanthropy and volunteer work to motivate them. Having been born in a landscape of global and internet terrorism, this group is resilient, highly adaptive and focused on future problems and innovation. This generation truly lives in a digital age, and is highly team driven. It is interesting to note that this generation has circled back to strong patriotic ties like that of the Silent Generation of the 1920’s, having walked through the 911 terrorist attack and current global conflict. This connection is at the core for many Millennial candidates when it comes to looking for jobs.
When trying to appeal to such a vast landscape of generations, approach your compensation, benefits, and incentives packages in a way that will satisfy the needs of each generation’s unique perspectives, attitudes, and values about work. This will give you the most success in hiring the best candidates for your work environment and provide a well-rounded and diverse work culture that suites everyone’s needs.
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