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Most conversations regarding diversity and inclusion revolve around onboarding people from various backgrounds, sexes, and abilities. What gets sidelined are the prejudices that come with ageism. Especially in an era that is a good proportion of seasoned baby boomers, passionate millennials and fresh-faced Gen Z as active as ever. Ageism – discrimination or prejudices on the basis of age, is one trouble area experienced within workplaces even today. Every generation has their own characteristics which can help in fostering employer branding and recruitment. After all, more than age, what matters is a person’s ability to adapt themselves to any situation.
Characteristics And Stereotypes
Baby Boomers are now rapidly moving into the aging workforce category, but this generation is extremely goal-oriented. Their work ethics are strong, and consider professional accomplishments to be of the higher order. Boomers relied on writing letters or using telephones when they were young, which has made their interpersonal skills strong. But, they’re known to resist change may be because of their minimal use of technology.
Gen X is known to adapt well to change, maybe because they saw their parents struggle through the 2008 economic crisis. They work to live, rather than dedicating their lives to professional growth. Gen X is more resourceful, self-sufficient, independent and hence, are known to walk away from micro management at the workplace.
Being largest in number, Millennials or Gen Y thrive on technology and innovation. They are flexible, tech savvy and look forward to living the best life by working smarter. This makes them great multitaskers but this can also make them come across as too casual, entitled and self-involved.
Gen Z, is the first generation to have lived a life that’s heavily reliant on technology and significantly wireless. They are true digital natives – but unlike millennials, are more concerned about career stability. But being connected with the outside world 24/7 might seem like they’re distracted at times.
It’s obvious that each generation has unique characteristics which were shaped by the changing times. It’s also evident why generations have discords against each other. In fact, research says, 64% of Gen Z is driven by work-life balance while 67% of Baby Boomers are driven by the work they do. But an open mind and team spirit can go a long way in achieving organisational and individual growth. After all, generational diversity at the workplace comes with a string of benefits.
The Benefits That Follow
Workplaces with a diverse set of perspectives, experiences and backgrounds that come with diverse generations, have a positive environment that encourages innovation and development of new ideas. Baby Boomers have seen the world change, so they can be competitive. While Generation Z come with a fresh pair of eyes and hence are calm even in difficult situations. A workplace requires both types of people. One brings passion to the table, while the other helps drive it with patience. Having different perspectives is not a bad thing after all. Moreover, this helps future-proof the organisation by recruiting a healthy mix of people. They say two heads are better than one, but it’s even better to have 2 heads from different generations for increased productivity.
Coca Cola embraces generational diversity by focusing on Diversity Training, Diversity Speaker Series and Diversity Library. This has helped implement new policies, one of which allows six weeks paid leaves for every new mother and father. This has been possible because of the Coca Cola Millennial Voices group. This group includes younger employees who believe in a healthy culture, leading to higher employee retention and a better understanding of fostering employer branding.
Inspiration Flows Top-Down
This task was taken up by millennials, but took shape because of the organisation’s senior management. After all, if the C-suite at Coca Cola wouldn’t welcome generational diversity, neither would have the rest of the workplace. Remember, inspiration flows top to down and it’s important that top management is onboard. Each generation brings different perspectives, beliefs, behaviours and competencies to the corporate table. Together, it makes for an interesting spread, but organisations need to know the ABCs of overcoming generational divide. Being one team, picking on each other’s strengths and bettering weaknesses is the key to a thriving diverse workplace. And in the long run, is also a special feature in fostering employer branding.