Attracting and Retaining Employees in a Multigenerational Workforce

  • Employee Engagement
Annie Dittberner

Throughout the last two years, businesses have been forced to adapt to a new normal impacted by a global pandemic, rising inflation, an ultra-competitive talent market, and changing workplace dynamics. While employers may have shifted their attention to keeping up with these challenges, many have lost sight of one of the most important variables — the multigenerational workforce.

A Look at the Current Workforce

Today, there are four generations in the workforce. While there is a slight disagreement on the absolute years in which each group is, I will use the stats from the Pew Research Center for purposes of this blog, which states:

  1. Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964)
  2. Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980)
  3. Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996)
  4. Generation Z (born after 1996)

This topic has been thoroughly studied, with articles published in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Forbes, and Harvard Business Review on how to manage, lead, and value a multigenerational workforce. A LinkedIn study concluded that 89 percent of talent professionals believe that a truly multigenerational workforce makes a company more successful.

Employer Response to Multigenerational Workforce Needs

So, what can employers be doing to ensure they are attracting and retaining all generations equally?

While I don’t have one simple answer to this question, I can provide the perspective of a 20-something millennial woman who made a job transition during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When I started my career just five years ago, I had aspired to work for an organization that offered hands-on training and development, flexibility, and opportunity for growth. Years later, the same rings true; however, I also look to my employer to cultivate a supportive environment for working parents as I make plans to start a family someday.

During my interview process, I was introduced to accomplished Gen X female leaders with long tenures at Holmes Murphy. In addition to a generous paid leave program, it was clear to me that women are celebrated, valued, and supported through all life stages at Holmes Murphy.

As crucial as it is for employers to recognize the generational differences in the workplace, leaders must ask the right questions to really understand what your employees need and expect from their employer at this time in their life, and continually adjust this.

Just last week, I was one of 15 others in our Minneapolis office that participated in an employee experience session with Ali Payne and our ethOs team. During the small group meeting, we were asked to speak to certain aspects of our own individual experiences at Holmes Murphy. Ali acknowledged that just because you have two employees in the same generation doesn’t mean  you can assume they want and expect the same things from their employer. Stereotypes are easy to draw. Asking intentional questions, understanding individual strengths, and listening to your people requires more effort.

We know that crafting a comprehensive employee benefits package is an important part of an employer’s attraction and retention strategy, but I believe organizations need to take it a step further. Leading with a people-first mindset, investing time and resources to understand the expectations of your employees across all generations, and equipping them with tools, resources, and training will enhance their employee experience, just as it has mine.

I encourage you to talk with Ali and our ethOs team about this very subject. In a time that attracting and retaining employees is harder than ever, knowing your organization is doing all it can to support all employees at every stage in their journey is crucial. You can also reach out to Holmes Murphy, and we can get you connected!

April 4, 2022