Creating an inclusive multi-generational workplace

5 minutes
Diane Duberry

By Diane Duberry

In 2011, the law that allowed employers to force staff to retire at 65 was scrapped, now making it possible to have five generations in the workplace at one time. Many years ago, I worked in an organisation where staff ages ranged from 19 – 76. At the time, I felt this was a harmonious workplace, but looking back, was the environment inclusive to all? Or was it more focused on the majority of staff – the 20-somethings?

The challenges of a multi-generational workplace include:

  • Not considering younger generations due to perceived lack of experience
  • Different life experiences
  • Pre-conceived ideas of colleagues in a different generation
  • Planning socials to suit all generations
  • Menopause
  • Feeling left out because you do / do not have children
  • Language / terminology used by different generations
  • Varied experience and knowledge of technology and social media platforms
The Advantages of a Multi-Generational Workplace

Multiple generations in the workplace can be a competitive advantage as you can appeal to a wider customer/client base. It also creates opportunities for people to learn from each other, promotes the sharing of best practices and different perspectives, and passes on knowledge through generations for future retention. Additionally, having a multi-generational workforce increases problem-solving abilities, provides opportunities for mentoring and reverse mentoring, brings diversity of thought leading to more innovation, and builds a wider, more diverse talent pool.

Creating an Inclusive, Multi-Generational Workplace

To create an inclusive, multi-generational workplace, it is important to understand the needs of each generation. However, while a person may identify with one or two characteristics of their generation, everyone is an individual, so it is essential to establish what suits each employee.

The five generations we may see in the workplace are:

  • The Silent Generation: Born 1928-1945 (74-91 years old) – disciplined, value-oriented, and loyal
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (55-73 years old) – committed, self-sufficient, competitive
  • Generation X: Born 1965-1980 (39-54 years old) – resourceful, logical, good problem-solvers
  • Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (23-38 years old) – confident, curious, questioning authority
  • Generation Z: Born 1997-2012 (7-22 years old) – ambitious, digital-natives, confident

One of the key differences among these generations is how they communicate with each other. Understanding these differences can help avoid frustrations and improve collaboration.

Attracting Candidates from Multiple Generations

To ensure all generations are attracted to your organisation, consider the following:

  • Be mindful of common ground and communicate how your organisation meets these similar requirements
  • Ask colleagues in different generations to sense-check job adverts and descriptions for bias
  • Evidence your commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion on your website and job adverts
  • Advertise the role using a variety of channels accessible on both desktop and mobile devices
  • Ensure your benefits package is flexible to meet the needs of staff at varying life stages
  • Be conscious and inclusive of different generations and lifestyles when organizing social events, and use imagery on your website that represents diversity
  • Offer flexible working options tailored to individual needs
  • Provide personal development and growth opportunities at all levels

For further advice on attracting multi-generations to your workplace, check out TPP's diversity & inclusion hub for additional resources and advice.

  • 020 7198 6000
  • TPP Recruitment, Northern & Shell Building, 4th Floor, 10 Lower Thames Street, London, EC3R 6AF