Multigenerational Workforce presents a particular set of challenges to companies striving to build the right blend of skills. Initiatives that expand digital skills, while capitalizing on the knowledge of experienced mature employees, are important to companies’ competitive market positions. However, today’s leadership and learning and development teams are also navigating a post-pandemic shift in working practices, including the continuation of remote working in the hybrid era.
What is the Multigenerational Workforce?
The workplace demographic has changed. The retirement age is now older and is only set to increase still further. An aging population, improvements in healthcare, and some people’s natural inclination to keep working for longer, mean workforces are now likely to comprise more mature employees than before.
The Centre for Ageing Better estimates that a third of workers in the UK are over the age of 50. People have been encouraged to stay at work longer by the support that is now in place for flexible and remote working.
Attitudes towards work/life have shifted, with workers seeking and finding roles that better fit their life stage. Whether they are child rearing or studying, or choosing working flexible hours at multiple jobs rather than full-time in one.
What this Means for Enterprise
According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends (2021), 70 percent of organizations rate leading multigenerational workforces important or very important to success. Yet, only 10 percent are ready for this.
A diverse workplace demographic will exhibit a diverse set of needs. Significant trends have exacerbated this situations.
The first is digitization as companies mechanize and automate. ‘The great resignation’ is the second dubbed phenomenon.
While remote work may have encouraged some older employees to extend their professional lives, for others it has prompted a reassessment of priorities leading, in some cases, to a complete career about-face. This has left some businesses struggling to retain and recruit talent, resulting in a skills gap.
Multigenerational Skills Development
When CV Library asked UK professionals what employers should focus on to not lose staff in 2022, a notable 42 percent said to invest in training and upskilling. It was in fact the second most cited factor behind paying top salaries.
As employees reflect on their life goals post-pandemic, they will seek opportunities that match their new expectations. In this, development and training is likely to play a very important part.
In a multigenerational workforce, the invaluable experience of longstanding employees must be supplemented with the skills of younger, digital natives. Meanwhile, their raw talent must be refined by the experience of older colleagues.
However, building digital skills isn’t the only priority. Digitization diminishes the need for skills to perform manual tasks but grows the need for ‘soft’ skills such as communication, teamwork, and leadership. These require a particular form of training that runs for longer periods of time and incorporates the ability to practice and take on feedback.
Meanwhile, graduates, apprentices, and other young starters who began their working life during the pandemic will have onboarded remotely. They may have had rushed or incomplete training programs. Plugging any training gaps this may have created, and rapidly transforming the development experience, is an important priority.
A Microsoft survey found that a higher proportion of workers hired during the pandemic are considering changing employers – 56 percent compared to 43 percent of the wider population. Therefore, investment in induction programs will be worth it to positively impact churn.
Four Actions to Meet the Skills Challenge
In a multigenerational workforce, enterprises are challenged to establish the skills they need and enable knowledge transfer between generations. Consider the following actions to help meet the challenge head-on:
Review Onboarding Initiatives
Starter training programs are central to workplace culture as new hires are initiated into the company values and ways of working. These initiatives must take account of employees’ needs, which are likely to have changed. Remote induction training needn’t offer an experience that is less than in-person training, provided the right tools and support.
Shorter courses delivered ‘on demand’ through flexible learning pathways provide a way to rapidly upskill employees in targeted areas—Micro-credentials award learners in specific competencies or achievements. The short courses are flexible, modular, and can be face-to-face, online, or a blend of both.
Enable Knowledge Transfer Through Mentoring
Mentoring can establish bridges across the multigenerational workforce. It allows younger employees to benefit from the knowledge of more experienced workers and nurture a more sustainable talent pipeline.
Support Hybrid Working Through Hybrid Learning
Workplaces tied to the office for in-person training will find learning and development in the hybrid era especially challenging. A blended model of some in-person and, some digital, learning requires the right technology and approach to succeed. But, it means employees have the equipment to learn anytime, anywhere, on their own terms.
Learning and development are critical for a multigenerational workforce. By meeting the needs of diverse teams through well-targeted learning programs that utilize modern learning technologies, companies can be better placed to meet training goals and retain skilled employees.