Appreciating the Generations for Business Impact

The lifeblood of business is a clear vision of the future.  Forecasting sales, expenses, market share and competition is a common agenda item for the executive team.  This focus on planning and anticipating for future events that could either position the company ahead of the competition or cause their demise keeps many a CEO up at night.

Understanding current and future workforce trends plays a pivotal role in this long term planning process.  It is imperative management has a strategic view of their current employee pool and balance this with demographic trends of the future workforce.  This research and planning requires close collaboration with management and Human Resources (HR).  HR provides specific and relevant information on what the current workforce offers and then provides demographic information of the country and cities where the corporation operates.

Using this as the backdrop, one of the biggest demographic trends the UK is experiencing is the changing future workforce.  Fundamentally there are more older workers then younger ones.  This trend is not unique to the UK; it is a macro trend in the US and many developing countries. In addition immigration is being restricted thus lowering the potential future labor supply.

The latest UK census data shows:

group
     Population
 %

 
Male
Female
 

0–14
5,560,489
5,293,871
18.0

15–64
20,193,876
19,736,516
66.3

65+
4,027,721
5,458,235
15.7

It is clear management must develop programs, processes and a create a culture to retain young and older workers alike.  They cannot afford to lose either group.  The future is the younger staff but there are just not enough of them to replace those leaving. What initiatives should be designed to increase the appreciation of both groups?

Recommit to diversity.  The vast majority of managers believe diversity relates to color, culture and lifestyles.  This definition needs to be formally broadened to include statements relating to age, or life experience.  By formally stating in your corporate policy that your company prides itself on all forms of diverse backgrounds, ideas and life experiences.  This will send a positive signal to your employees that they are valued whoever they may be.  Your strength comes from the vast array of opinions, skills, values and life history of your employees.

Build a culture of inclusion.  Make every attempt to have a mix of younger and older employees on cross functional projects and meetings.  Do not segregate or create teams to either group.  Both groups can learn much from each other.  Rotate leadership of teams to both groups.  Your older workers will naturally want to coach the younger ones, take advantage of this dynamic and foster it through all projects and meetings.

Hold the line on professionalism.   There must be a zero tolerance to statements of age or ability in a negative context.  Your values and harassment policy must state that respect for all employees is the cornerstone of working at your company.  HR and management must seize every act of unprofessionalism by educating the offenders and progressing to correction action and ultimately termination if the behavior continues.

By creating a work environment where all ideas and views are welcome, where respect drives every interaction and all employees appreciate each other’s life experiences your bottom line will echo your renewed dedication to your employees. But don’t forget about quality cv, that can help you in any time.