Leveraging on generational diversity for organizational success

Understanding and managing diversity in the workplace is essential for organisations to motivate and develop a talented workforce

Today’s business world is becoming increasingly global and diverse. Range of services and products offered to customers is also becoming more targeted and aimed at specific demographic segments. With an array of clients spread across the globe, organisations need to cater to their diverse needs and priorities. Few years ago, an organisation’s workforce comprised mainly of people of similar age groups. But the composition of today’s workforce is changing at a rapid pace, thanks to the open culture adopted by many organisations.  

Crucial factors to be considered for a healthy work culture

The basic aim of understanding and managing diversity in the workplace is related to discussions of gender, race, ethnicity, and/or disability. In recent years, generational diversity is getting more attention and is crucial for maintaining a fine balance between the different workforce layers and helping organisations achieve primary business goals. An organisation’s workforce consists of people from all age groups right from a college fresher to a departmental head. These people from different backgrounds and cultures work together to achieve business and organisation goals. Be it a CEO or an analyst, each generation sees the world through their own experiences, influences, and social values. Similarly, each set of people have their own approach towards their work, loyalty, authority, and other critical issues related to an organisation. All these factors play an important role in promoting a healthy work culture among employees.

Improved talent attraction, retention, and engagement

There are numerous benefits of generational diversity in the workplace. By leveraging and building on the advantages, organisations can minimise misunderstandings between employees that can lead to conflict and dissent. Generational diversity can contribute to attracting the right talent, ensuring employee retention and engagement, and increasing competitive advantage that retains customer loyalty and enhances workplace productivity. When old timers retire and leave behind their work responsibilities, HR finds it difficult to fill the vacuum in terms of knowledge, experience, and management. By promoting cross-generational mentoring and teamwork, organisations can ensure an efficient knowledge transfer and subsequent assigning of responsibilities.

Creation of flexible policies and programmes

The current generation of workers finds it very difficult to accept pre-existing programmes and policies. On the other hand, leaders need to develop new initiatives to train the current generation on core values and principles of the organisation. They should clearly know their job profiles and what is expected from them on a day-to-day basis. Organisations should have open door policies wherein employees can come forward with their ambitions and ideas or grievances. HR needs to formulate a common set of vision, mission, goals, and objectives that enable all the employees in the organisation to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities.

A common set of goals and objectives

An organisation that is open to inclusiveness and stays away from tolerating generational differences will see an increase in its productivity and revenues. On the monetary front, organisations need to review their pay scales as per the generation of employees. Employees of different age groups and work experiences look at monetary and non-monetary benefits from a different perspective.

Different styles of communication

Knowledge transfer from experienced professionals on the verge of retirement to fresh hires is an essential part of management of generational diversity. However, it is more about communication within an organisation and with clients that will bridge the generational gap to a great extent. Moreover, face-to-face communication is the best form of communication across all age groups, despite the availability of technology to provide non-verbal means of communication.

The onus of managing and leveraging generational diversity in the workplace does not rest solely on HR or the senior management. While HR and the top brass in an organisation is actively involved in planning, deploying strategies, and training for building a multi-generational workforce, it is the responsibility of everyone in the organisation to develop an atmosphere of diversity.

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