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Managing Multiple Generations in the Workplace

The modern workplace consists of four generations: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y (Millennials), and Gen Z. The difference in these groups goes far beyond age, and can make managing a multi-generational workplace extremely difficult. It can feel impossible to satisfy all of your employees when each generation has different standards.

The techniques that you use to manage one generational group of employees may be the complete opposite of what should be used to efficiently manage another generational group. Because of this, it’s critical that you as an employer recognize the strengths of each group and focus your management techniques on how to work with these differences, as opposed to expecting your employees to change in order to suit your management style. Continue reading as we dive into three of the biggest differences among generations in the workplace and how to manage them.

1. Perks and Benefits

One of the key ingredients in reducing your turnover rate is offering benefits that appeal to all of your employees. This can be difficult, however, when each generational group has a different preference in benefits. While millennials are more drawn towards paid time off and the ability to create their own schedules, Baby Boomers are more interested in perks like health insurance and retirement plans.

Hiring a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) to help you with benefits administration is the best way to ensure that you are meeting all of your employees’ needs without going over budget. A PEO like Delta Administrative Services can help you offer all of the big business benefits like life insurance, paid parental leave, 401 (k) plans, and more while working with your small business budget. 

It works like this: you enter into a co-employment agreement with the PEO, allowing them to become the official employer of record with the IRS. With this new title, we will then assume certain employer risks, rights, and responsibilities. However, this does not mean that you will no longer manage your employees–you will–they will just be working for the PEO under contract. 

With your employees under our PEO contract, we are then able to pool your company in with several other small businesses, and offer everyone big business benefits at competitive rates. This will allow you to compete in the larger talent pool as well as attract the top talent of each generational group.

2. Career Decisions and Development

Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have an entirely different view of career advancement and development than Generations Y and Z. Typically, employees that were born in the ‘80s and ‘90s view a job as merely a stepping stone. They tend to prioritize training opportunities and professional development when choosing a career and deciding whether or not to stay with their current employer.

On the other hand, employees born between the mid ‘50s and the ‘70s tend to prioritize loyalty and tenure. Their perspective on career advancement is more traditional and focused on raises and promotions. 

Given the vast differences in generational priorities, one of the best ways to optimize your employee satisfaction is to cross-train for different positions, emphasizing the opportunity to learn transferable skills. This will honor the experience of the older generational groups, while simultaneously engaging the younger groups. 

We understand that as a business owner, you likely don’t have the time to cross-train everyone. This is why we’ve created an online training catalog to help you virtually train your employees. You can check out our catalog of nearly 200 training courses here.

3. Leadership Style Preference

When developing your management approach, it’s very important to consider the values of each generational group in your workplace. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, but each age group accepts constructive criticism and compliments differently.

While Generations X, Y, and Z are usually less acceptive of authoritarian leadership and would rather immediate and frequent feedback, Baby Boomers are used to this style of corporate hierarchy. Baby Boomers also tend to respond better to formal constructive criticism because it makes them feel like their dedication and work ethic has been acknowledged.

As an employer, it’s critical that you value what each generational group can bring to your organization without disregarding individual strengths. Make sure to avoid stereotyping and be open-minded about the fact that people from all age groups are capable of offering innovative and successful ideas. 

At Delta, we offer open enrollments, new hire enrollments, and automatic registration onto our innovative HR technology. While this technology may sound like it’s easier for the newer generations to use than older generations, we have thoroughly examined and simplified it to make it intuitive and user-friendly for all generations. We also offer endless training courses on our site and are always available to answer any questions that your employees may have about their benefits, the technology, or any other HR-related issues. Contact us today to learn more about how our training courses and HR specialists can help you create the ideal diverse work environment.

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