With the state pension age likely to rise again and over-50s being encouraged back into work, multi-generational workforces are becoming increasingly common.
Need advice on effectively managing an age-diverse team? Read on to find out how your Gen-Zs and Baby Boomers – and everyone in between - can thrive alongside each other.
1.Use tech to your advantage
One way to enhance performance across a cross-generational workforce is to utilise technology to your advantage, without forgetting the importance of face-to-face interaction.
Using apps like Quinyx can help to empower team members, giving them autonomy over their schedules and the ability to track shifts and work patterns from their phones. For younger staff, using their phones for everything is likely to be second nature, while older colleagues may still need a bit of encouragement to ditch paper-based systems. That said, it’s also worth being aware of age-based stereotypes (see point 4!) – not all Gen-Zs love their phones, just as there are plenty of sexagenarians who are tech whizzes.
While tech can be beneficial for automating various areas of work, ‘old-fashioned’ face-to-face communication is never going to be obsolete, in our opinion. Maintaining an ‘open door’ policy, where employees can speak to management in person as and when they need to is just as valuable as the latest tech in establishing and maintaining an happy, effective workforce.
2. Value the experience of older workers
Older employees generally have greater ‘life experience’, and can often bring a different perspective to work matters. Yet as a society we tend to celebrate youth and enthusiasm over age – seen in the workplace when younger employees are given greater opportunities for career advancement than older colleagues. Again, it’s key to avoid any age-related prejudice and ensure each team member’s contribution is valued and rewarded – whether that’s through regular recognition emails, shout-outs in newsletters, monthly awards, training and promotion opportunities and so on.
3. Prioritise flexibility
Regardless of the generation of your workforce, flexibility has become increasingly important within the workplace. For ‘deskless’ roles where remote work isn’t possible, offering more flex might mean enabling staff to oversee their own schedules and swap and choose shifts via an app like Quinyx, rather than laboriously having to check emails or paper schedules. Allowing time off for family commitments and mental health days is also likely to go down well with employees, whatever their age.
4. Challenge negative stereotypes
People of a similar age may have experienced similar workplace situations and be accustomed to certain processes, but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily feel the same way about them.
Age bias and stereotyping can be harmful, upsetting, and generally detrimental to a productive cross-generational workforce – so recognising and challenging them is vital. Lead from the top and think about how to make team members, old and young, feel valued - ask older team members to share their experiences of using new tech-based systems, for example, rather than calling on younger staff by default.
5.Manage and reward the individual, not their age bracket
Take the time to find out what makes each team member tick, and what their career goals are – a new recruit in their 50s might be as ambitious as a twentysomething or be happy with less responsibility, but without checking in with them it’s impossible to know. There can be concerns with cross-generational workforces that younger workers, with youth on their side, are more likely to be promoted, while older colleagues are left stagnating in the same roles. For a high performing cross-generational workforce, ensure that promotions are based on skill and experience, rather than age.
Find out more about how Quinyx’s digital tools can revolutionise your workforce management.