How to Increase Generational Diversity in the Workplace

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What are some ways to increase generational diversity in the workplace?

To help organizations increase generational diversity in the workplace, we asked HR officers, hiring managers, and business leaders for their best insights. From structuring your teams with members of various ages to initiating discussions between employees of different generations, there are several ways to encourage and achieve greater generational diversity for the overall health of your workforce.

Here are dozen suggestions for increasing generational diversity in your workplace:

1. Have Your Teams Made Up of Members of Different Ages

Shake up your teams. Make sure each department is filled with people of all ages. To increase generational diversity in the workplace, each team needs to be made up of people from different generations. We can all learn from each other. I have found that having colleagues who have already experienced something I’m currently going through has been instrumental to my success. Give your team an edge by providing people they can learn from.

Isaiah Henry, Seabreeze Management

2. Implement Policies That Encourage Older Workers to Stay Longer on the Job

Increasing the number of different generations in the workplace can be a challenge, but it can also lead to new and innovative ideas. One way to increase generational diversity in the workplace is by implementing policies that encourage older workers to stay on the job longer. This can be done by offering flexible work arrangements, such as part-time hours or telecommuting, and by providing training and development opportunities. Older workers can also share their knowledge and experience with their younger colleagues, which can help to build teamwork and communication skills.

Aviad Faruz, Faruzo New York

3. Provide Reskilling and Upskilling for Older Generations

As in the movie The Intern, you can create a senior intern program in your organization. Many newer industries and positions are populated mainly by younger professionals, yet experienced workers have insights and skills that can add new perspectives and contributions to these areas. Sometimes later career professionals may feel intimidated or daunted to make drastic switches. By creating designated internships for older generations with reskilling and upskilling programs, you create a safe space for these workers to learn and launch new careers. These initiatives can function like reverse mentorship programs, and both parties can learn and benefit.

Carly Hill, Virtual Holiday Party

4. Offer Remote Work Schedules to Draw in Workers of All Ages

Offering a remote work schedule provides more accessibility to your company for people from diverse backgrounds and generations. For example, most young professionals prefer remote work, and more established professionals could also enjoy the newfound flexibility that remote work brings. Professionals of all ages enjoy remote work for different reasons, but one thing is for sure: remote work opens up the talent pool.

Patricio Paucar, Navi

5. Encourage Mentorship and Reverse Mentorship Programs

A great way to facilitate communication and collaboration between employees from different generations is to encourage mentorship. In a mentorship program, an experienced employee — usually from an older generation — acts as a mentor for a less experienced employee. The mentee can learn about the company’s culture and values, while the mentor can gain a better understanding of the mentee’s perspectives and needs. It is also beneficial to reverse the roles and have younger employees act as mentors for their older colleagues, especially on issues related to technology. This way, everyone can learn from each other and benefit from the generational diversity in the workplace.

Danielle Bedford, Coople

6. Play to All the Available Generational Strengths

Often, being equipped with different strengths depends on which generation you were born into. For example, those from Gen X to Gen Z are frequently more technological, based on their knowledge of social media and how to strategically use it to the advantage of the business — getting more traffic and a higher ranking on Google. Those from the Boomer generation are generally more analytical and entrepreneurial, know how to sell directly to the consumer or client, and have a clear business plan to achieve face-to-face sales and pitch to bigger businesses. Playing to all generational strengths will give you a well-rounded, successful workplace that celebrates diversity and uses it to the business’s advantage.

Wendy Makinson, Joloda Hydraroll

7. Build a Culture of Collaboration to Attract a Multi-Generational Workforce

It’s important to be collaborative in every step of the employee journey, an approach appreciated by all generations. “Co-recruiting” is a hiring method where both the candidate and the company equally share their needs, expectations, and goals. With collaborative educational onboarding, employers engage new employees to question and improve the training modules as they progress through them. Employers can also try offering creative cultural development with game nights and open ideation sessions — plus employee development opportunities like mindfulness, meditation and dispute resolution training. This helps build a winning culture that every generation wants to be a part of.

Lindsay Hischebett, Flaus

8. Recognize and Celebrate Generational Differences

Instead of focusing on age differences and stereotypes, organizations should promote empathy. When we recognize and accept the generational differences that exist in the workplace, we will be able to collaborate and complete our tasks more efficiently. We are all examples of what our generation has produced. It cannot be judged as good or evil. Simply said, in order to decide how we might work together most effectively, we need to comprehend the viewpoints of those who are around us. It’s common knowledge that corporations hire workers from a range of ages and backgrounds. The gaps, however, are defined by the viewpoints that are taken and the terminology that is used far too frequently. Leaders have a responsibility to value individuals for who they are and what they have to offer, not for the generation from which they come.

Josh Tyler, Tell Me Best

9. Create Job Postings That Are Free of Age Bias

One of the best ways to increase generational diversity in the workplace is by creating age bias-free job postings. A common example: “Young, energetic team” may be great in practice, but sounds discouraging for a 50-year-old who is reading a job description and considering applying for the position in question. To attract and retain talent at all ages, employers need to eliminate age bias in recruitment practices. Show that your company values knowledge, skills, talents, and positive working habits of potential employees across all ages. Encourage an age-diverse culture where all workers feel comfortable and appreciated, regardless of their age. Multi-generational workplaces are like a treasure chest, and creating them is worth all the effort.

Agata Szczepanek, Resume Now

10. Remove Education Requirements That Create Bias

Get rid of unnecessary education requirements. While a four-year degree has become a job-listing mainstay, it comes with age bias. No matter what metrics you use to crunch the numbers, there are more millennials with college degrees than any other generation. They outstrip Baby Boomers and Gen X, and even Gen Z is statistically less interested in four-year degrees than their predecessors. By putting unnecessary education requirements in place, companies ensure that the qualified applicants will skew to a specific age group. Creating more flexibility in hiring requirements can correct this generational bias.

Vimla Black Gupta, Ourself

11. Ensure Consistent Progress of Career Paths Across All Ages

Career trajectories for younger people typically develop at a faster rate at work, and as a career progresses, it typically slows down. In many cases, such career pathing may actually come to a stop for the older generations — as organizations work to cement their middle-to-upper management and control salary costs. A workforce that is older may become unsatisfied with their positions as a result of this uneven pace. And a workforce that is less evenly distributed by generation can result from the succeeding series of events, such as unhappiness, low engagement, turnover, and so on.

Martin Lassen, GrammarHow

12. Get People from Different Generations Talking to Each Other

One way to increase generational diversity in the workplace is to get people from different generations talking to each other. It’s easy for people to think that they understand what other generations want, because they see it on television or in movies — but in reality it’s much more complex than that. For example, there are some job benefits Millennials want that older generations don’t even think about, like flexible schedules, remote work, and the option to telecommute. While older generations may not understand why younger workers want these perks, through open communication they can find out where their younger colleagues are coming from (and vise versa).

Amer Hasovic, Love & Lavender

How JobsInTheUS Can Help

Since 1999, JobsInTheUS has helped employers find the top local talent they need to grow their business — through our network of state-specific job sites, including JobsInME, JobsInNH, JobsInVT, JobsInMA, JobsInRI, JobsInCT, and more.

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