That’s the number of different generations that now share workplaces all around the world. We know them and we’re used to dividing and defining them as consumers, but what do we know about the different generations as employees? And can we even construct today’s multigenerational workplaces without considering the differences between these generations?
People are individuals and it’s important to treat them as such to ensure a happy and productive work environment. However, there are some characteristics that divide generations, which could cause issues among colleagues if not managed properly. For example, it’s becoming increasingly normal to work with a boss that’s younger than you - an organizational construction that would’ve seemed impossible in the hierarchical organizations from 40 years ago. These younger bosses can have a hard time finding the right motivation for employees much older than them, if they don’t understand what drives them and what they perceive as risks.
But first things first: What are the different generations in the multigenerational workplace?
Traditionalists: Born approximately from 1922 to 1945,
Baby Boomers: Born approximately from 1946 to 1964,
Generation X: Born approximately from 1965 to 1980,
Millennials: Born approximately from 1981 to 1996.
Generation Z: Born since 1997.
We’ve collected 3 main points that help you create a workplace that works for all five generations.
1. Attract Millennials
Millennials are the largest generation in today’s workforce. They’re also a very valuable addition to your workplace - they’re young, progressive, curious, team-oriented, tech-savvy and expressive. They don’t do things a certain way just because it’s how it’s always been done. They’re eager to learn and grow, they value work/life balance and they thrive in very diverse workplaces.
This generation also make up the first digital natives. They grew up with technology - their use of technological devices is as natural to them as using desks or chairs. It’s no wonder that investing in the latest technology is one of the critical ways to attracting and retaining talent among millennials. In fact, surveys show that 93% of millennials report that up-to-date technology is an important factor when choosing a workplace, and a different survey shows that 42% of millennials stated they would leave a company due to "substandard technology".
Apart from technology, Millennials also want to be part of a positive work culture and they expect flexibility in their workplace. They value not being tied to specific work hours and locations and they appreciate the trust that flexible employers grant. Among those who intend to stay with their current employer for at least five years, 55% say there is now more flexibility in where and when they work compared to three years ago. Millennials in the survey even suggest that employers offering more flexibility than they did three years ago are achieving greater profitability and providing work environments that are more stimulating, healthy and satisfying.
Hot-desking is an alternative to traditional seating that’s gaining currency in modern workplaces - and it combines the two big wants of millennials; technology and flexibility. Instead of each desk belonging to one person, wasting space and money in a time where more and more people are working partially from home at flexible hours, hot-desking lets employees use the desks available. With the hot-desking and indoor wayfinding partnership solution from Iotspot and MapsPeople, employees can book available desks at the office and be guided directly to them. A solution like this supports employers in attracting millennial talent.
2. Move beyond the labels
Stereotypes exist everywhere, including between generations at workplaces. Younger generations might think that Baby Boomers are all technophobes that refuse to change with the times, whereas Baby Boomers might expect Millennials to be a bunch of job-hopping, smartphone-addicted curling-children. It’s important to move beyond the labels and create a work culture that doesn’t buy into those stereotypes - it only obstructs good communication and collaboration. Although Baby Boomers aren’t digital natives, they’re no strangers to change and innovation, so don’t expect them to be completely inflexible with new technology, even if your employees struggle with it in the beginning - new technology can be a challenge for everyone at first. To encourage a smooth and fast transition, we strongly recommend that you choose a technology provider that offers strong support and ongoing learning activities. For example, we’re with you every step of the delivery and implementation process, and offer continuous support as well as informative webinars throughout your project.
3. Encourage collaborative working
Creating a great multigenerational workplace is not just about attracting Millennials. Baby Boomers are living longer and healthier and staying longer in the workforce and younger generations can benefit from their experience and their perspectives. A great multigenerational workplace takes advantage of the different qualities that each generation can offer, as well as the qualities they offer when you allow them to work together and benefit from each other.
Encourage activities that help employees of different generations work together and learn new skills. Introducing new technologies at the workplace is a way of doing just that - getting used to new technology is a clear-cut way of activating the benefits of fresh thinking coupled with experience to produce highly effective teams.
If you choose a new technology with a well-known look-and-feel, you also accommodate different generations’ need of innovation and tech-forwardness with the need of a level of familiarity. Our indoor navigation solution, MapsIndoors, is built with Google Maps, which means that the interface and functionality of the solution is familiar to your employees.
Want to know more? Check out our blog post about the cost of unutilized office space or learn more about our industry solution for corporate offices.