How To Attract And Retain A Multi-Generational Workforce

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Diversity of employee experience is critical to success today—but you have to be intentional to make it work, says Eric Cormier, manager of HR services at Insperity.

Mentoring isn’t just about mature employees teaching the newbies anymore. Cross generational efforts, where each generation teaches valuable perspectives and skills to the other, are key to team camaraderie and company performance.

That’s one of the insights from Eric Cormier, manager of HR services with Insperity, a Houston-based provider of human resources and business performance solutions. Cormier spoke with StrategicCHRO360 about how remote work has impacted generational issues, how to craft job descriptions that get you the people you want and what kind of upskilling is most popular among employees.

How can employers successfully manage a multi-generational workforce?

With the emergence of a hybrid/remote workforce, many of the traditional lines between generations have become blurred and somewhat diminished in relevance, with a sharper focus on individual behaviors and values. However, as managers refine their leadership abilities in a hybrid/remote environment, five areas that have proven to be crucial in supervising a successful multi-generational workforce are supporting the culture, having a flexible mindset, practicing clear communication, setting clear expectations and encouraging cross-generational mentoring. While all areas are equally important, one that warrants more emphasis is cross-generational mentoring. 

As the workplace experiences a dramatic shift in demographics and employers face challenges from the Great Resignation, it behooves leaders to seize the opportunity to leverage the strengths of the various generations and promote cross-generational mentoring. The different experience levels and range of skill sets enable younger workers to learn from seasoned employees and vice versa. When leaders support ongoing cross-generational mentoring, via videoconferencing or in-person, employees will expand their skill sets, team building is nurtured and camaraderie increases.

How can businesses better tailor their job descriptions to attract multi-generational candidates?

Creating compelling job descriptions that are tailored to the current needs and desires of job seekers is critical for businesses competing in the war for talent. Based on recent experiences and the current landscape, many business leaders realize that most employees are seeking the same things, such as a great culture that promotes work-life balance, alignment with the purposes of an organization that gives meaning to their careers, professional development opportunities and flexible schedules.

Therefore, job descriptions should clearly state whether the role is hybrid/remote; provide a salary range to attract legitimate candidates; explain the role/responsibilities and how the position contributes to the company; describe training/development programs; outline a career path, if possible; list the top benefits, including any paid volunteer hours; and highlight the company culture and work-life balance perks.

Many times, job descriptions provide a first impression and glimpse into the company for job seekers, so it is important for leaders to create eye-catching job descriptions and/or revisit and revise outdated descriptions to attract top talent.      

What type of professional development programs have increased in popularity since the onset of the pandemic?

For most job seekers and existing employees, professional development programs are high on the list as they search for new positions and seek advancement opportunities. The pandemic not only led to the reskilling of many employees from a technology and/or new product standpoint, but it also exposed the need to refine or learn additional skills to adapt to a hybrid/remote environment. 

While management and leadership training became a key focus as more employees stepped up into rapidly changing situations, emotional intelligence and soft skills quickly came to the forefront as high levels of empathy and compassion were required to take care of people. Therefore, management/leadership training and teamwork/interpersonal skills training are key areas that have increased in popularity.

Also, professional certifications in fields that award the additional education and serve as a great middle ground for attaining a degree are increasing in popularity for working professionals.        

What is their impact on employee engagement and retention?  

Professional development programs are critical from an employee engagement and retention perspective because they help boost the connections employees have with the company and build bonds between co-workers, leading to higher levels of engagement and increased employee buy-in. Employers that offer these programs are demonstrating long-term commitment to their employees by helping them gain the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed and advance within the organization, positioning the company with a highly skilled and dedicated workforce now and in the future.

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