Crossing the generational divide: 5 different generations work side-by-side—and they like it

Majority of respondents appreciate differences each generation brings to work, the Addison Group found.

How Gen Z will reshape the workforce: 80% want to work with cutting-edge tech As Gen Z enters the workforce, five different generations will work together. Here's what a multigenerational workforce will look like.

With Generation Z entering the workforce, five different generations are working side-by-side. Employees enjoy this integration of ages, with 92% of professionals reportedly satisfied with the diversity of age ranges in their workplace, an Addison Group report found. 

Addison Group's Age is Just a Number: The Truth Behind Generational Stereotypes at Work report surveyed 1,000 full- and part-time US employees to determine how generations work together. While each generation is unique in its own way, these differences are appreciated by all. Some 79% of respondents said they prefer to work for a company where the makeup is skewed older than them, and 75% reported the same with a younger makeup, the report found. 

SEE: IT leader's guide to achieving workplace diversity (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Overall, the majority of employees in different age ranges work well together. Employees in older age ranges most appreciate the tech savviness of Gen Z (56%) and millennials (52%). Generation X is most appreciated for their good work ethic (64%), and baby boomers for their leadership (48%). 

Even though these generations enjoy working together, they do have different goals and desires, the report found. 

What each generation wants 

The top job loyalty drivers are nearly the same for older generations: Both Gen X (63%) and baby boomers (67%) view the type of work they do as the most important aspect of their job, with salary coming second at 58% and 52%, respectively. 

Younger generations, however, hold different motivating factors to why they work with a specific employer. The majority of Gen Z respondents cited a work-life balance (64%) and salary (60%) as two of their most important loyalty drivers. Millennials responded similarly, with salary (62%) and work-life balance (62%) as the most important factors of a job. 

The reason Gen Z and millennials prioritize salary is most likely due to increased college tuition debt, said Tyler Cahill, people strategy associate at Addison Group.

These younger generations are also more likely to fight for what they want, the report found. Some 44% of Gen Z said they negotiated with their employers over their salary in the last year, and 41% of millennials said the same. 

"These younger generation people are becoming a lot more vocal, and want to become a lot more involved in processes and policies that are impacting them directly," Cahill said. "When it comes to other generations, many "were entering the workforce around the recession or had to deal with their early jobs in the recession. They just felt lucky to have a position and didn't want to risk it by maybe for more money or for more benefits."

Gender disparity in negotiations

Mirroring disparities in wage and treatment, women also negotiated less over the past year than men across Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X. Baby boomers, however, had more women (24%) than men (16%) negotiate their wages throughout last year. 

Gender diversity is not a new issue in the workforce, especially in the tech industry. Women have continuously faced bigger challenges than men, being outnumbered, underpaid, and overlooked in comparison to their male counterparts. This experience forces many women to ultimately leave their tech positions.

The report used the disparity as a call to action for baby boomers, asking this generation to help empower the younger ones to fairly negotiate in their companies. 

How to create an equitable workplace 

When looking at salary specifically, companies should consider what they are able to offer and what they need to offer to be competitive, Cahill said. Young, tech-savvy generations will do their research on market rates to negotiate, so companies should too. 

Overall, the culmination of generations does have the potential to pose problems. The report outlined the following four strategies organizations should use to create a cohesive work environment: 

  • Listen

Instead of making assumptions about each generation, managers and leaders should internalize and welcome feedback from employees. Avoid trying to apply stereotypes to responses and instead listen to each individual personally. 

  • Communicate

Companies should communicate new initiatives openly and transparently. Gen Z and millennials, who are more fluent in tech, might be more open to new digital transformation initiatives. However, older generations may be more hesitant to these changes. Make sure to keep in mind the strengths of each generation and communicate accordingly. 

  • Mentor

Since older and younger generations have different strengths, they can provide valuable skills and insights to one another. A mentorship program can bring team members together, and help sharpen or create skills. 

  • Partner

With baby boomers starting to age out of the workplace, employers must prepare to replace the talent. Partnering with recruiting firms can be helpful in this process, as leadership transitions can be difficult and time-consuming. 

For more, check out Want to keep Gen Z talent? Promote them on TechRepublic. 
 

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