Advantages & Challenges of a Multigenerational Workplace

The workplace is currently undergoing some very unique shifts and changes, especially as it begins to welcome Generation Z, the fifth generation to be currently active in the workforce. 

What does this mean for your business? Adapting and moulding multigenerational teams is the key to your success in today’s disruptive workplace. However, it isn’t without its challenges. As a leader it’s your job to understand individual career paths, communication styles, what drives worth ethic, how each generation receives feedback and the process they use when working through a problem. This information will give you the ability to leverage the diverse strengths of your team, which will in turn boost productivity, encourage retention, and increase the overall happiness of your people.

Here are some of the advantages and challenges you can expect when embracing a multigenerational workplace in 2020. 

Advantages to a Multigenerational Workplace: 

Fuels Innovation Within Your Team

Different generations offer unique perspectives, ideas, and ways of accomplishing various tasks. Bringing these together encourage strong collaboration in an environment where blind spots are easily accounted for. Millennials are strong learners and can be independent workers; using their strengths in technology to come up with answers they are unsure of. Whereas, older generations offer more intuition based on their years of work experience and backgrounds. Together your team will take a less uniformed approach to various scenarios and consider problems from a variety of angles, giving you a competitive advantage within the industry. 

Combines Various Experience Levels 

With the introduction of technology, we are seeing an interesting trend of reverse mentoring amongst teams. Millennials are digital wizards who can offer older generations new innovative solutions to processes and challenges, while Baby Boomers and Gen X act as career mentors, sharing their wealth of knowledge and gained experiences. Creating a workplace that encourages generations to learn from each other will strengthen your team and give them the confidence to face future influxes while arming them with know-how from past failures and successes. 

Fosters an Open Environment of Inclusion and Respect 

It’s important; actually, it’s crucial to the life of your business that your team learns to accept their differences and establish strengths through their similarities. Multigenerational teams bring a plethora of ideas, skills, and training to the table and it’s important as a leader to establish a respectful environment that allows each individual to flourish and grow in their role while feeling heard and actively participating in team initiatives. 

Challenges With a Multigenerational Workplace 

Various Communication Styles

Each generation communicates differently and all leaders must identify this to successfully engage in candid conversations with their team. Emphasis must also be placed on improving the communication channels across generations. Baby Boomers and Generation X tend to prefer face-to-face communication, secondary to phone calls and emails. Alternatively, Millennials rely on staying connected through digital media and other smart, social media-driven technologies. 

Diverse Values in the Workplace 

Typically Millennials and Generation Z are notorious for valuing tactile working hours, social activity, personal freedom, and workplace engagement. Generation X can partially relate, as their priorities lie around flexible working arrangements, work, and family balance, and established promotion opportunities. Rather, Baby Boomers and older generations value individuality, discipline, compliance, and workaholism. 

Various Work Ethics 

Each generation works hard – they just go about it in a very different manner. Baby Boomers are known to question authority, overwork themselves, champion causes, and stick strongly to their core beliefs and values. Generation X, on the other hand, is very task orientated and focused on leaving work at the office to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Millennials and Generation Z tend to over-multitask, while always looking to “what is next” with an eagerness for flexibility, also known as the ‘work-from-home’ generation. 

Overcoming Generational Stereotypes 

If you want a well-oiled team built on respect and candour, basic negative assumptions must be eliminated. Baby Boomers can be considered old fashioned and practical, or Generation X, self-centred risk-takers, and Millennials are less reliable and simply job-hoppers. The dialogue must be shifted to focus on each generation’s strengths, not weaknesses to set your team up for long-term success. 

As a leader, it’s crucial to have the ability to unite the generations and properly manage a diverse and dynamic team. We have over 20 years of experience here at BullsEye Recruitment, and we offer customizable coaching and diversity training that will arm you with the tools you need to lead and build a high performing team that will accelerate your business, drive optimal results, and retain top talent from all generations. Book your free 45-minute consultation here


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