29th June 2023

How to Optimise a Multigenerational Workforce

In the modern and ever-evolving workplace, organisations are experiencing a remarkable phenomenon—a workforce that encompasses individuals from different generations. From Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to Millennials and Gen Zers, each generation brings their distinct skills, experiences, and perspectives to contribute to the collective success of the organisation.
At EST, we understand the advantages of having a multigenerational workforce firsthand. Our small HR team comprises members from Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Z, allowing us to leverage the diverse strengths and insights of each generation.

Address unconscious bias and stereotyping

Unconscious bias in the workplace is a subconscious preference that may affect your opinion based on facts or experiences from your past. The modern workplace is more diverse than ever before, not only in terms of gender, race, ethnicity or culture, but also in terms of age.

There are common stereotypes about the different generations but organisations that successfully embrace a multi-generation culture will avoid making assumptions about individuals based on their age or generation. Instead the focus is on their skills, experience, perspectives they can bring to the organisation.

Addressing unconscious bias is crucial for building a culture that values diversity and promotes fairness. By raising awareness which include promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives, providing bias awareness training, encouraging open dialogue and implementing proactive strategies to foster diverse and inclusive teams, organisations can mitigate the impact of unconscious bias. It is important also to review organisation processes, such as recruitment, performance evaluations, and promotions, to identify and address potential biases. Implement objective criteria, standardised assessments, and diverse interview panels to mitigate the impact of bias. By continuously monitoring and refining these processes, organisations can ensure fairness, equal opportunities, and merit-based decision-making

Create a multigenerational culture

Embracing this multi-generational workforce is not just a necessity but also an extraordinary opportunity for businesses to succeed in an increasingly competitive market by delivering a well thought out multi-generational workforce strategy. Respective and appreciating the differences and recognising that each generation has its own unique experiences, skills, and insights can enrich the workplace significantly.

Research shows that it can:

Help transfer skills and experience among different generations, especially in areas such as technology, communication, and data management.

Foster a culture of mutual enrichment, learning and respect among employees with different values, perspectives, and preferences.

Improve productivity, morale, collaboration, and innovation by leveraging the strengths and diversity of each generation.

Reduce employee turnover, increase client base, and enhance succession planning for retirement.

Foster knowledge transfer and retention

Significant benefits will include sharing multiple perspectives within and across teams and appreciating the differences will bring a broad range of knowledge and abilities to learn from each other. The collaboration of fresh innovation with wisdom leads to innovative solutions and an increased ability to meet the needs of the customer. The exchange of knowledge not only enhances the skills of new hires but also maintains valuable expertise within the organisation.

As well as more experienced employees sharing their wisdom and knowledge, the opportunity of reverse mentoring, where younger employees share their technical knowhow with older generations, fosters a culture of learning and collaboration. By having employees who can relate to and connect with diverse customer segments, for example, businesses can gain a competitive edge, build stronger customer relationships, and adapt their products or services to meet evolving needs.

At EST, we embrace and value us all sharing our perspectives, knowledge and experiences – and can certainly confirm the benefits of reverse mentoring! The awareness and strengths that each generation offers better prepares the business to meet its future leadership needs and builds a knowledge base and a robust internal talent pipeline for succession planning. Internal promotions in turn increase levels of motivation and engagement and retain key skills.

Communicate inclusively and effectively with different generations

Preferences and methods of communication styles are a significant factor across the generations. The world of work in terms of communications has seen an incredible change from the time of formal and direct communication, letter writing and phone calls or in-person conversations, to nowadays when digital communication methods are the norm, such as instant messaging, social media platforms and video chats.

In order to communicate effectively across generations and avoid misunderstandings. Managers should be aware of these differences and vary their communications approach by using multiple communication channels to reach different audiences and ensure clarity and consistency of your message.

Tailor your feedback and recognition according to the expectation and preferences of your team. For example, some may want frequent and informal feedback whilst others may prefer private recognition.

Employee Inclusion and Engagement

Creating a culture of inclusion and respect is essential for harnessing the potential of a multi-generation workforce. Managers should promote an environment where people of all generations feel valued and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. Encouraging open communications, flexibility, and opportunities for cross-generational collaboration can also build relationships and promote a sense of belonging across generations.

Encourage continuous learning

Continuous learning in a multi-generational workplace recognises the diverse learning styles amongst generations. Encouraging knowledge sharing and mentorship across generations helps foster a learning environment and designing training initiatives that consider the diverse needs and preferences is crucial. This may involve a mix of traditional classroom-style training, e-learning modules, interactive workshops and other innovative approaches. Promoting a culture of life-long learning is essential for all generations and encouraging employees to engage in ongoing professional development, pursue certifications, attend conferences, or participate in relevant courses helps foster a growth mindset and keeps the workforce up-to-date with industry advancement. Leveraging technology can play a vital role in facilitating learning and collaboration across generations. Utilising digital platforms, learning management systems and online communities, and virtual mentorship programmes can bridge the gap between different generations and provide opportunities for knowledge sharing and interaction.

In today’s dynamic workplace, organisations are witnessing an unprecedented trend and by fostering an inclusive environment, promoting knowledge sharing and leveraging the strengths of each generation, leaders can unlock the full potential of their people.

How can our HR Team help?

In developing your strategies, it is prudent also to bear in mind that research is also showing that despite different generations fundamentally people are people and there are similarities in what they want out of work – meaning, purpose, good leaders, professional growth. The difference is how each generation expresses these needs and what expectations companies have about fulfilling them.

We can offer expertise in developing your multi-generational strategy and supporting your team when it is implemented.

EST also offer a range of relevant management training which is relevant to this topic: 

  • Competent Manager Programme
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – Raising Awareness 
  • Managing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Coaching Skills for Managers

Please contact our HR Team if you would like more information about this or any other support in respect of HR or organisational and management development 02921 303888 or