People have been asking me how you build a best place to work, and part of that is making sure your team is diverse and is overall a place where everyone has a voice. Something that is often overlooked is having people from multiple generations. By having multiple generations coexisting, you get different generational perspectives, and each offers something unique. As long as everyone has the same core values, you can really use those different perspectives to make your workplace a great place to work for everyone. That's something here at Syfter we've really taken to heart.
At Syfter, we currently have executives within our small team which represent four generations existing in the workforce- Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y/Millennials, and Gen Z. We’ve found as a company that each group brings a different perspective and these perspectives combined bring a certain synergy to our work environment that would otherwise be impossible to replicate.
For example, our CFO, Dan, who represents our Boomer generation, is a wealth of knowledge and experience with multiple topics. When he makes a decision, he has years of experience to recall from, and when he makes a point, we typically take it as a fact.
Our Gen X executive, our Chief Recruiting Officer Matt, is a blend; while he can understand Boomers, he can also understand where Millennials come from. He has the careful, traditional mindset of a Boomer while being up to date on all the latest technologies and best practices of the present. He can understand the quicker speed at which Millennials want things to progress as well as the slower pace that Boomers prefer.
Our Millennial, Christian, is the hands on manager that handles mainly other Millennials and Gen Z. He knows that Google has all the answers and isn’t afraid to reference it constantly. Millennials as a generation are more willing to take risks and are more in search of a company that makes them feel valued and emphasize a good work-life balance. They’re good at striking compromises and balance and enjoy considering new ideas and new ways to do things, but can also relate well to Gen X employees, not being too far in age from them.
Our Gen Z (Millennial/Gen Z cusp) is our Marketing and Operations Manager, Kate, which makes us feel like our company is on the cutting edge of technology. We’re up to date on the latest video platforms, and our website has a unique, modern design. Gen Z employees are the youngest and come with the freshest ideas. They’re the most up to date with technological advances, and they especially prioritize a work-life balance over tenure or loyalty to a company. They usually are the ones introducing suggestions to the team to consider or offering viewpoints we haven’t considered before.
We learn credibility from the Boomer. The Gen X is our bridge between generations. The Millennial is someone that’s going to move very quickly and get all the answers, and our Gen Z makes sure we’re always up to date on what’s up and coming. You can see how only having one or two of these wouldn’t allow us to accomplish as much as we do, and how all four together complete the puzzle.
Things to Keep in Mind When Creating a Multigenerational Workforce
Each generation is different, and instead of trying to lump them together, you should celebrate their differences. Understand that everyone has different perspectives and work ethics, and celebrate the best of each. Mandate healthy communication and respect at all times by setting an example in how you communicate with employees. Compromise is key.
Having a mix of ages in management will also ensure that everyone is equally represented and decisions are being made that both stay true to the company’s core and allow you to move into the future and stay up to date on the “next big thing.”
It’s also a good idea to create equal opportunities based on work performance rather than years of experience. Promote from within- if you see someone with extraordinary potential who doesn’t have as much experience as you would traditionally promote, don’t hesitate to give them more responsibility. You’d be surprised at what people can accomplish when they’re given more trust.
You’ll also want to understand that each generation has different working styles. Boomers tend to favor a traditional in-office, 9-to-5 schedule, while younger Millennials and Gen Z will be a fan of flexible work hours and remote work potential. There are different ways to accommodate everyone, so find the one that works best for your company while making sure everyone is at their most productive. There’s no law saying the same rules apply to everybody. Everyone has a different threshold - push to find it, then challenge it.
Having multigenerational employees, and especially multigenerational management will take effort, understanding, and flexibility, but it is a fail-safe way to combine the best of the past, present, and future and ensure your company stays on top for decades to come.