Did you know that, according to the Harvard Business Review, companies embracing a multi-generational workforce are 45% more likely to report growth in market share?
Age diversity really is an essential driver of innovation and success. With a blend of industry veterans, mid-career professionals and energetic newcomers, companies will have the tools to stay adaptive and competitive in a rapidly changing world.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the tangible benefits of intergenerational workforces, including how they can help companies overcome major challenges like the skills gap.
Why businesses should recruit an age-diverse workforce
Age diversity in today’s working world is the broadest it’s ever been, in some cases spanning five generations. From the Traditionalists all the way up to Gen Z, this generational gap poses plenty of challenges – and opportunities.
By leveraging the strengths of each generation, from Gen Z’s tech savviness to Baby Boomers’ stability and experience, companies can remain agile and foster a resilient workforce capable of championing unexpected shifts in the professional landscape.
The myth that older people aren’t worth hiring, or that younger generations struggle to work with older colleagues, is simply not true. It’s not about how generational differences can be worked around but how they can be harnessed to fuel innovation and creativity.
1. Addressing the skills gap
In the UK today, the number of people aged over 65 sits at 11 million. By 2043, it’s expected to increase by 32%. As people live longer, they’re also working longer. These employees often struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change, leading to a shortage of individuals with the latest technical skills.
We see a similar issue on the younger end of the spectrum. Ageing workforces and retirements result in the loss of experienced employees. This exacerbates the skills gap as younger generations haven’t acquired the same level of expertise.
There’s potential for equilibrium here. An intergenerational workforce balances the experience of the older generations with the technological literacy of the younger generations to effectively bridge the skills gap.
2. The value of older workers
Older workers create value. While Millennials and Gen Z boast university smarts and are naturally gifted with digital know-how, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists are veterans of the business world, having navigated decades of corporate change.
Companies and younger workers need this stability as businesses evolve. Those aged over 62 are also more loyal to their employers than any other age group, meaning lower staff turnover and reduced onboarding costs.
Businesses can also use their older employees to foster a well-rounded company culture. For example, experienced workers can be encouraged to mentor younger colleagues. This facilitates knowledge sharing, enhances key skills and creates a more robust workforce.
3. Alternative talent pools
To diversify their workforce while addressing the skills gaps and fostering innovation, companies should start directing their recruitment efforts towards alternative talent pools, which can include:
- Career changers
- Individuals with non-traditional backgrounds
These pools offer a wealth of skills and perspectives that employers may miss when recruiting through conventional channels.
Embracing alternative talent pools is crucial because it allows businesses to tap into diverse skill sets that contribute to a more adaptable workforce. One company that does this successfully is Google. They draw from multiple channels in order to source a diverse range of talent, from emerging graduates to seasoned industry experts.
4. Improving the bottom line
Alternative and age diverse talent pools are a source of strength. For example, by increasing the share of older workers by just 10%, companies gain the equivalent of a year’s growth.
Boosting productivity like this has many positive spillover effects: improved profitability and employee engagement, a stronger talent pipeline and, returning to earlier statistic, the chance to raise market share by 45%.
The evidence for nurturing intergenerational workforces is everywhere. Inclusive companies:
- Get 2.3 times more cash flow
- Are 1.7 times more likely to be innovative
- Generate 80% better decisions and 60% better results
5. Better adaptability
You can improve your company’s adaptability by capitalising on the unique strengths of different generations. For example:
- Baby Boomers offer extensive experience, allowing them to step into mentorship roles and prime younger colleagues
- Gen X, known for their adaptability and entrepreneurial flair, are instrumental in leadership roles, where their ability to navigate change is a valuable asset
- Millennials have adapted to several technology revolutions and value collaboration more than any other age group. They’re pivotal to driving innovation through interdisciplinary teams and agile project management
- Gen Z, raised in an advanced digital era, contribute fresh perspectives and are ideal for roles involving digital marketing and emerging technologies
Changing the future of work
Fostering intergenerational collaboration is the key to future-proofing your business. Not only does it improve and diversify your arsenal, it also keeps you in a constant state of learning and adaptation, which is crucial when trying to stay competitive.
Author and productivity consultant, David Allen, said it best: “You can do anything – but not everything.” By opening up the floor to multiple perspectives, and valuing each generation, we can all learn from each other.