Society

Tapping power of diversity at work

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Summary

  • If you are reading this article and still working, chances are you fall between the silent generation and generation Z.
  • The workplace has become more age diversified to embrace different age groups.
  • The different age groups include the silent generation ( 1928-1945), baby boomers ( 1946-1964), generation X (1965-1980), millennials ( 1981-1995) and the generation Z (1996-2010).

If you are reading this article and still working, chances are you fall between the silent generation and generation Z.

The workplace has become more age diversified to embrace different age groups. The different age groups include the silent generation ( 1928-1945), baby boomers ( 1946-1964), generation X (1965-1980), millennials ( 1981-1995) and the generation Z (1996-2010).

It is important to understand age-based diversity for various reasons. It will enable your organisation harness the different strengths presented by each generation and avoid and manage conflict. Understanding this diversity will help your organisation attract and retain the right staff.

Just in the same way as different people have different love languages and varied personalities have diverse needs, is the same way various generations have different approaches and needs when it comes to work.

The key to getting it right is to understand the languages and needs of different generations and harness the strengths while managing the weaknesses.

Understanding age-based diversity helps your organisation improve performance, broaden skills, enables different perspectives, reduces turnover and assists in mentorship where the older generation can mentor the younger one.

A diversified workforce means you will also have diversified views. People will see things from a different perspective. A good manager will allow room for diverging views and harness those views for the good of the organisation.

A rigid manager will however insist on things been done from his own individual perspective. The organisation may miss out on the advantages of diversity if the manager is too rigid.

An example of a diversified organisation is where the owner is in the silent generation, the board members are baby boomers, generation X comprise the manager and the CEO while millennials and generation Z make up the staff.

The silent generation members are the “old school” people we have in our organisations. They have very strong work ethics. They are very hardworking and loyal to staff.

They have a great respect for authority and these include the regulators and Governmental authorities, they are good spenders and have a lot of will power. Their main challenge is that they are not tech savvy.

Baby boomers carry a strong work ethic and are very confident, disciplined and team oriented. Baby boomers were brought up in highly disciplined homes.

They therefore have a need for structures and discipline. The downside to this is that they can be change resistant and being too competitive. They have an excess desire for recognition.

Generation x have the best of both worlds being the generation in between. They are tech savvy, open to change, flexible, informal and love challenges.

They are spenders and prefer flexible hours. Generation Y (millennials) are tech savvy, enthusiastic, confident and invest in social causes.

They do not have strong work ethics like adherence to working hours, preferring instead to be judged on results.

Millennials make up the higher percentage of the workforce therefore it is important to understand them.

When attracting and retaining the different age groups it is important to consider their needs. Performance and reward should not be too skewed to favour one age group.

The employment contract and policies should be very personalised. However, a balance between individual needs and harmonisation should be evident. Otherwise there is a risk of litigation from discriminatory work practices.

Diversify your management to include different generation. This way the voice of every generation will be heard during decision making.