In many workplaces in the UK we now have five generations working side by side as a result of later retirement ages and longer life expectancy. Diversity across ages is hugely beneficial for our nation’s workforce and gives organisations insight into different customer markets, a variety of perspectives when making decisions and a wide range of skills across seniorities.
To harness these benefits and draw in talent across generations, employers need to make sure they capture positive representations of age diversity within their brand. Here are my guidelines and suggestions for keeping your brand relevant in today’s multigenerational workforce.
One size doesn’t fit all
The first thing to note is that different generations view employer loyalty in different ways. Generally speaking, Baby Boomers (those born roughly between 1946 and 1964) are fairly embedded in their organisations and loyal to their employer. However, the idea of a ‘job for life’ is changing in light of our faster moving world of work, so consider that the concept of employer loyalty will look different across the generations.
With this in mind, employer brands need to be agile if they are to promote themselves as an employer of choice. Employers – take the time to understand what aspects of your workplace, culture and development opportunities appeal to different ages. Having this awareness will help you tailor your branding strategy and highlight important messages to the relevant generations.
Generation X: they’re forward-thinking
When we talk about Generation X we’re referring to those born roughly between 1965 and 1976 who are likely to be in senior positions in the current workforce. This generation witnessed first-hand the impact of digital innovation as they entered the world of work and tend to appreciate digital innovations being introduced into the workplace. Some have certainly seized the opportunity that these innovations bring and embraced an intrapreneurial working culture.
By highlighting an intrapreneurial culture – how you fosters new ideas and shares innovation – you will appeal to some of the more forward-thinking in this generation. As part of this, show that you’re one step ahead of digital transformation and embrace new technology. You will come across as having an ability to adapt and change and stay relevant in today’s working world, which will appeal to younger generations as well as those in Gen X.
Millennials: they want progression
This generation, usually born between 1980 and 1994, are also drawn to technology in the workplace having grown up with it around them. Many have also seen newly-created career opportunities brought to them by embracing this innovation and also prioritising their development more. Generally they are an ambitious and adventurous group of professionals who look for career progression, development and rewards from a potential employer.
It’s crucial to highlight these things to draw attention from jobseekers in this age group. Ways you can do this might be communicating internal career successes, demonstrating how individual employees have an impact on the business and publishing examples of internal mobility. Embed these messages throughout internal communications and your employer brand to appeal to internal and external millennials.
Generation Z: they seek purpose
The youngest in the workforce born from 1995 onwards are typified by the presence of social media in their upbringing. It’s no surprise that they use social media to socialise but remember that they use these platforms to look and apply for jobs. There’s evidence to suggest that the brand and reputation of an organisation is also more important to this generation of workers than others and often, they’ll find this information online.
Developing a strong employer brand is particularly important to attract this generation especially when it comes to your presence online. Use social media to position yourself as a leader in your field or industry and boldly communicate your purpose, as this will strike a chord with jobseekers in this age range.
While we mustn’t run the risk of overgeneralising, there are certainly different trends and preferences across generations which employers should take into account. My overarching point is to invest time in listening to your employees at all levels to maintain awareness of what they want from their careers. This will help you continue developing your brand in a way which draws in diverse talent across generations.