When FIELDBOSS entered the contracting market in 2015, the shortage of labor issue was a top contractor concern. Years later, shortage of labor in the contracting market has become even more acute. Today, contractors are desperate for not only experienced field workers, but also back-office workers who can take on multiple responsibilities. To grow a contractor organization, contractors must be open to hiring people of any age, at any stage of life, and embrace the benefits of generational diversity.
For the first time in history, there are five generations in the workplace. As an employer, one of the biggest challenges of employing and managing such a diverse group is finding a balance that not only appeases everyone but makes for a successful organization and a positive culture. Each generation has been shaped by the experiences they have lived through – from post-World War II Depression-era to the tech era, and everything in between. As a result, they have varied values, skillsets, preferences, priorities, proficiencies, opinions, motivators, and more.
With the right approach, companies can create a multigenerational office culture that not only functions but thrives.
Here are 7 strategies that FIELDBOSS employs for multi-generational harmony:
Everyone wants to be treated with respect, no matter how old or experienced. Just as newcomers need to respect older generations’ seniority and experience, senior employees need to respect the talent and potential of younger generations. To overcome our age biases, stereotypes and generalizations must be dismissed. It is important that our colleagues take the time to understand differences in values, beliefs, and goals. Understanding the journeys that the different generations have faced throughout their careers is a great way for us to build organizational empathy, cohesion, and respect.
2. Create an Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
Your EVP must offer a desirable and flexible work environment with a wide range of perks that appeal to the entire range of generations in your office. Consider adding policies and programs for wellness, work/life balance, and paid time-off. Offering professional development, career advancement, and social events can create an even more inclusive workplace for all ages.
3. Eliminate Bias and Stereotypes
Despite best intentions, stereotypes and bias toward different generations can show up in the workplace. Baby Boomers may think of Millennials as tech-obsessed and lacking in people skills while Generation Z might view Boomers as stubborn and inflexible. Remember, chances are, somebody may be stereotyping you. You can change their perceptions and attitude by demonstrating a willingness to listen to new ideas or suggestions. Ask questions….you will be surprised at what you might learn.
4. Learn From One Another
The different generations each have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can share. For example, the Boomers on your team can share their knowledge, contacts, and lessons learned during their years at work. A Generation Y colleague can help out with the latest developments in tech, social media and viral marketing. Successful multi-generational teams know how to identify, value and build on one another’s skills and experiences. This focus on individual strengths, rather than on generational differences, is a key part of thriving in the modern workplace.
6. Focus on the Similarities
Focus on the things that connect you with colleagues of all generations, rather than focusing on the differences. There are likely more similarities across the generations then you realize. No matter your age or level of experience, most people like to feel inspired by their work, to be paid fairly, to be successful, to build a better quality of life, to be happy and respected. We also share the same complaints, such as feeling overworked and underpaid!
7. Create Opportunities to Learn About Each Other
Social gatherings and opportunities to learn about your colleagues are important when working with multi-generations. At FIELDBOSS, we order in lunch every week and sit together talking about non-work topics, from family to travel to hobbies and more. We have an annual holiday party, regular office pools, acknowledge personal milestones (babies, marriage, big birthdays etc) and enjoy team get togethers. Getting to know one another on a personal level helps break down the generational walls.
At FIELDBOSS, we embrace our company mindset that generational differences are a win-win for our organization. Intergenerational collaborations result in greater learning, and a more meaningful work experience for all involved. We are only as strong as our collective and are energized as a company knowing every staff member, regardless of generation, has something to teach and something to learn. If you focus on your people as people, rather than as demographic groups, you’ll find success. Treat your employees well, and they’ll do great work in return.