Look at most industries and you will generally find a representation of four distinct generations: Generation Z (the most recent to enter the workforce), Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. Of course, depending on the nature of the work, this makeup can vary widely. When it comes to the senior living services industry, for example, it is the youngest and the oldest age groups that are currently thriving, staying in their positions longer and in general reporting a brighter outlook on their professional life.
Why is this? Well, it has a lot to do with Baby Boomers staying in the workforce longer. As these individuals continue to hold leadership positions, Millennials and Gen X employees are stuck in middle management. Many will ultimately leave because they do not see a path forward in their careers. For Generation Z it is a little bit of a different story. Because they have not been a part of the career force for very long, they do not yet feel “stuck” in their current positions; they still have plenty of opportunities to learn and to grow.
There are a lot of benefits to having a diverse workforce. Having a wide representation of ages and life experiences helps with creative problem solving and can result in a more tolerant and understanding environment. For these reasons, you should make it a priority to appeal to your middle management. By doing so, you can help keep employee satisfaction high, which in turn positively benefits employee satisfaction and turnover rates.
Here are some ways that you can improve the work experience of your Millennial and Generation X employees:
- Find creative opportunities for growth: You might not always be able to offer your employees promotions, but that does not mean that you cannot provide other resume-worthy opportunities that allow them to develop their skills. Allow employees to take classes that are relevant to their position, and provide some responsibilities that are in line with their professional interests and goals.
- Focus on the benefits that matter most to them: Millennials and Gen Xers are in different life stages than your Boomer or Gen Z employees. They may care more about things like flexible work hours or child care services. Keep in mind that there are many other appealing offerings besides just promotions.
- Keep an open line of communication: The best way to know what is working and what is not working is to ask directly. Talk to your middle management employees to find out what could make their professional lives easier. By maintaining a healthy stream of communication, you can create the best possible working environment for employees of every generation.