Workplace diversity: Get the four generations to work together for prosperity


Today's directors must be more engaged, shrewd, enterprising, more numerate and more technically competent than ever. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

In the current workplaces, unintentional frictions are commonly informed by all the thoughts, physical aspects, motivations and aspirations shaping the four generations trying to find ways to work on common projects.

Baby boomers are insisting on the tried and tested old ways of working, well-known systems and brands that assure quality end products and most having no problem at all with the positioning of benefits at the company as most of them are done building and educating children, their presence can be seen around legacy shaping than to transition the firm to the next frontier.

It’s a profile that no longer wants to invest in learning as they are seeing an impossibility of recouping the learning investment in the remaining four years to retire.

Generation Y are now taking up senior management leadership or senior roles in every band, they have the most pressing items that include educating children, most of their children starting work and need help relocating, this is a profile that worries more about how life will be at the retirement and waking up at the wee hours courtesy of the myriad of thoughts on how to stabilise things.

Covid 19 reminded them of the need to have good medical cover, savings as they are taking care of ageing parents and their children transitioning to higher learning institutions and workplaces.

Millennials dominate middle-level management, with a unique skill developed from having to watch the older guys do things in the most ineffective ways but they couldn’t do much as they were there to be seen and not heard, they dreamt of remote working and flexible arrangement and they went out of their way to enable it during covid.

Any offer that comes their way should include Flexi and remote working.

Then my good friends Generation Z, the guys of mapema ndio best challenging every single process and wondering how we have survived with all the ineffective systems in place they are witnessing, they are also struggling with how 8am will solve the problems at the department and why we should have weekly departmental meetings to review the week and position for the next week instead of posting such in department WhatsApp group.

The above four generations pursue different priorities then ultimately the company will give in.

As the year starts and discussions are there to attract different profiles the value proposition is finding the best combination of persuasions to enable the four profiles to combine thought and experience to the advantage of the company.

Workplace diversity can be shaped for the competitive advantage of the firm if we find ways to tap into strengths as opposed to weaknesses.

Going into the future we might fail to get concurrence on only one way of doing things and if we still want to retain the four generations in their uniqueness then it’s time we find what works for each.

Mr Siele is Group Human Resources Manager - Shared Services.