Dealing with a multigenerational workforce Instructor Date One of the core issues arising among HR professionals is how to deal with a diverse workforce that comprises of millennial, also known as generation Y, and septuagenarians. These two groups are differentiated by age, attitudes, way of thinking among other factors and these make it difficult to create synergy in an organization…
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In addition, millennial are more willing to take risks and highly educated compared to the preceding generations. These differences are bound to result in some friction at the workplace, where in the past it has been noted that organizations have opted to leave them to resolve themselves. However, this is proving to be unfruitful as millennial are leaving the workforce to start their own businesses and operate as consultants. Having realized their importance, organizations have to identify ways of attracting and retaining this workforce as well as ensuring they work in cohesion with the older generation (Cahill et al 2012, p.4). Popular social science has attempted to categorize the living generations into five- matures/veterans or builders, baby boomers, and the subsequent generation X, Y and Z. Presently, baby boomers, generation X and Y are the ones actively engaged in the workforce. Every generation is identified with its own unique traits with the baby boomers- born between mid-1940s and mid-1950s, and builders- usually in their late 60s and 70s, sharing a similarity of being able to work for long hours in a structural manner. Whilst the rest are known for being flexible, having an increased understanding of technology and overall seeking a balanced life, the latter being particularly so for generation X born between mid-1960s to early 1980s. The challenge for HR professionals lies in striking a balance between meeting the needs of an organization and the burgeoning expectations of the multigenerational workforce. Mostly, generation Y and Z desire to have a flexible work schedule that implies them not being tied to the office a whole day. Notably also, organizations are faced with the uphill task of recognizing and dealing with the competing issues of generation Y and Z and the clients/customers which may not be mutually exclusive. HR managers have to recognize and appreciate the different points of view held by a multigenerational workforce (Mitchell 2008, p.666). Organizations have to re-examine their needs and goals from a holistic standpoint and design a job description that will offer employees an opportunity for growth along with various responsibilities; which in turn will result in them being retained and satisfied in their job. This is complicated by the fact that there will be miscommunications, misapprehensions and detachments in a multigenerational workforce, with respect to work commitment and entitlement. In addition, operational areas such as frontline employees have had to be restructured as management practices have evolved over the years and modes of communication have changed from top-down, task-based instructions to linear contemporary ways of communicating. Clerical positions have also become unnecessary owing to efficiencies created by recent office technologies. This implies that certain positions have become redundant and employees who have been with an organization over a long period will need to have their prior positions reconsidered. HR managers should look to their strengths and allocate new responsibilities accordingly as opposed to letting them go as their experience creates an opportunity for mentorship to the younger, incoming workforce (Mosley & Kaspar 2008, p.94). Furthermore, HR managers have
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