For the first time in history, we are seeing up to five generations in the workplace.
People are living longer and healthier lives, and many continue working later in life to stay active and social. Others are still recovering from the economic recession and have had to delay retirement for financial reasons.
Meanwhile on the other end of the age spectrum, Millenials now represent the largest slice of the workforce.
This shifting professional landscape means that some members of the Silent Generation in their 70s and Baby Boomers could be sharing an office with, or even being managed by, millenials in their mid-twenties.
With so many generational perspectives at play, how do you successfully manage a multigenerational office? How do you design benefits that suit everyone’s needs? And how do you promote wellness in the workplace in a way that everyone can join in?
To start, the key is understanding the most common needs and stresses experienced by different age groups, and planning with consideration for where they are in their lives.
“Understanding the characteristics around these predictable life paths will help you figure out how best to divvy up work assignments and also the best ways to manage and motivate your team,” explains Peter Cappelli, professor of management at the Wharton School.
We’ve broken down some of the common needs and top workplace stresses for the generations you are most likely to encounter today:
The Silent Generation (Ages 73-93)
While this group currently represents just 1% of the workforce, many are sticking by their longtime employers for the foreseeable future.
Likes: Face-to-face interaction, formal communication and policies
Needs: job security, retirement support
Top stressors: new technology, sudden changes
Baby Boomers (Ages 54-72)
Born in the post WWII era, Baby Boomers are extremely hardworking and motivated by position, perks, and prestige, but have concerns about personal health and preparing for retirement.
Likes: Feeling satisfaction by working, competition, perks. Appreciates financial incentives as one large sum, such as an annual bonus.
Needs: retirement counseling, job security, and perks such as voluntary benefits
Top stressors: health concerns, job stability, financial worries
Gen X (39-53)
Most of today’s managers are from this generation, which came in workforce during early internet boom and has continued to thrive as new technologies have changed how we work.
Likes: direct communication and feedback, work/life balance, independence
Needs: competitive benefits packages and support for their lives outside of work
Top stressors: career advancement, raising children, caring for parents, financial worries, mortgages and debt, trying to save for retirement
Often misunderstood, this cohort is now the largest in the modern workforce. Millennials value professional fulfillment and will take an entreprenurial approach to find it. As digital natives, they are highly educated and skilled, but don’t want to spend all day and night at the office.
Likes: digital communication, flexibility, choice, a friendly environment, wellness programs and company perks, smaller but more frequent displays of recognition from managers (including smaller monthly financial incentives)
Needs: work/life balance, financial education and retirement counseling, direct communication with managers
Top stressors: personal debt, dead-end or unsatisfying careers, rigid policies, micromangement
Learn more about designing a health and wellness benefits plan that meets the needs of all of your employees. Schedule a call with us!