How a Multi-Generational Workforce Impacts CEOs

Baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z are all distinct generations with their own unique characteristics, values, and experiences. As a CEO, it is important to understand how these different values and expectations can be leveraged to create a more effective workplace.

In a recent Peernacle CEO Peer Group meeting in Roanoke, Katherine Jeffery delivered a provocative presentation on the impact each of these generations has on our ability to effectively recruit, retain, develop, and communicate with these employee groups.

In this post, I’ll discuss the differences between these four generations, and how CEOs can use these differences to their advantage when it comes to recruitment, retention, and development.

Baby Boomers – Born 1945-1964

Baby Boomers are those born between 1945-1964. This “Civil Rights and Vietnam” generation is known for its strong work ethic and loyalty to its employers. In general, they also have a strong sense of responsibility and are willing to go the extra mile to do their job. Baby Boomers are often seen as traditionalists, so they value stability, hard work, and respect for authority.

If you’re trying to recruit Boomers, consider promoting stability and a sense of responsibility. CEOs should also emphasize the company’s loyalty to its employees, as Baby Boomers value loyalty. Also, you should offer Baby Boomers competitive salaries and benefits, as they value working hard for their rewards.

To retain and develop Boomers, CEOs should consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Provide job security: Baby Boomers value stability and security in their jobs. They value long-term employment agreements and clear career progression paths to help them feel secure.
  2. Emphasize opportunities for advancement: Baby Boomers value opportunities for career growth and advancement. Provide them with clear paths for promotion, mentoring and coaching opportunities, and training and development programs.
  3. Foster a culture of respect and recognition: Baby Boomers value respect for authority and recognition for their contributions.
  4. Offer competitive compensation and benefits: Baby Boomers value financial stability and a competitive salary and benefits package.
  5. Encourage face-to-face communication: Baby Boomers value face-to-face and direct communication more so than younger generations. Many in this generation may not embrace technology as a communication tool as other generations. Encourage in-person meetings and face-to-face interactions to help them feel included and valued.
  6. Create opportunities for volunteerism and community engagement: Baby Boomers value community involvement and volunteerism. Encourage them to get involved in community service and volunteer opportunities, this will not only help them feel connected to the community but also to the company mission.

By providing job security, opportunities for advancement, fostering a culture of respect and recognition, offering competitive compensation and benefits, encouraging face-to-face communication, and creating opportunities for volunteerism and community engagement, CEOs can create an environment that appeals to Baby Boomer employees and helps retain them in the long term.

 

Image credit https://www.katherinejeffery.com/.

Generation X – Born 1965-1980

Generation X are those born between 1965-1980. This “Latchkey generation” is known for its independence and resourcefulness. They have a strong focus on personal development and learning and often view their careers as a way to find meaning and fulfillment. Many Gen X are also known for their entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to take risks.

When it comes to recruiting Gen X employees, CEOs should consider an emphasis on meaningful work and personal growth. They should promulgate the company’s commitment to personal development and should offer competitive salaries and benefits. Additionally, CEOs should consider offering flexible work schedules and telecommuting options, as Generation X values flexibility.

To retain and develop Gen X employees, CEOs should consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Offer flexibility: Provide options for flexible scheduling, telecommuting, and job sharing to meet the needs of Gen X employees who value work-life balance.
  2. Provide autonomy: Give Gen X employees the freedom to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This will help them feel more invested in their job and more motivated to stay with the company.
  3. Offer opportunities for professional development: Gen X employees value opportunities to learn and grow in their careers. Provide training and development programs, mentoring and coaching opportunities, and opportunities for advancement to keep them engaged and motivated.
  4. Foster a positive corporate culture: Gen X employees value a relaxed, positive work environment where they feel valued and respected. Encourage open communication, collaboration, and inclusivity to create a culture that appeals to Gen X employees.
  5. Provide competitive compensation and benefits: Like Boomers, Gen X employees value financial stability, and a competitive salary and benefits package.
  6. Create a sense of community: Gen X employees value a sense of community and camaraderie. Create opportunities for team building, social activities, and networking events to help them feel connected to their colleagues and the company.

By providing flexibility, autonomy, professional development opportunities, fostering a positive culture, providing competitive compensation and benefits, and creating a sense of community, CEOs can create an environment that appeals to Gen X employees and helps retain them in the long term.

Millennials – Born 1981-1996

Millennials are those born between 1981-1996. This “space shuttle” generation is known for its ability to adapt quickly to change, and they are often seen as tech-savvy and innovative. Millennials also have a strong focus on collaboration and teamwork, and they value work-life balance.

When it comes to employee recruitment, CEOs should consider targeting Millennials who are looking for a sense of purpose and collaboration. They should emphasize the company’s commitment to innovation and team-based work and should offer competitive salaries and benefits. 

To retain and develop Millennials, CEOs should consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Provide opportunities for professional development: Millennial employees value opportunities to learn and grow in their careers. Provide training and development programs, mentoring and coaching opportunities, and opportunities for advancement to keep them engaged and motivated.
  2. Foster a positive corporate culture: Millennial employees value a positive and inclusive work environment. Encourage open communication, collaboration, and inclusivity, and foster a culture that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  3. Provide a sense of purpose: Millennial employees value purpose and meaning in their work. Communicate the company’s mission and values, and connect employees to the company’s larger goals and objectives to help them feel more invested in their work.
  4. Offer flexibility: Provide options for flexible scheduling, telecommuting, and job sharing to meet the needs of Millennial employees who value work-life balance.
  5. Offer Competitive Compensation and benefits: Of course, like other generations, Millennial employees value financial stability and a competitive salary and benefits package.
  6. Encourage community engagement and social responsibility: Millennial employees value social responsibility and community engagement. Encourage them to get involved in community service, volunteer opportunities, and sustainable initiatives, and make sure they see how their work makes a positive impact on the world.

By providing opportunities for professional development, fostering a positive corporate culture, providing a sense of purpose, offering flexibility, offering competitive compensation and benefits, and encouraging community engagement and social responsibility, CEOs can create an environment that appeals to Millennial employees and helps retain them in the long term.

Generation Z – Born 1997-Present

Generation Z is those born between 1997-present. This “9/11” generation is known for its tech-savviness and digital literacy. They are often seen as independent, creative, and ambitious. Generation Z also values work-life balance, and they are driven by a desire to make an impact.

When it comes to employee recruitment, CEOs should consider targeting Generation Z who are looking for a sense of purpose and collaboration. They should emphasize the company’s commitment to innovation and team-based work and should offer competitive salaries and benefits. Additionally, CEOs should consider offering flexible work schedules and telecommuting options, as Generation Z values flexibility.

To develop and retain Gen Z employees, CEOs should consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Offer opportunities for innovation: Generation Z employees value the ability to think creatively and bring new ideas to the table. Encourage them to come up with innovative solutions and provide them with the resources and support they need to bring their ideas to fruition.
  2. Foster a culture of collaboration: Generation Z employees value collaboration and teamwork. Encourage open communication, provide opportunities for cross-functional collaboration, and make sure that everyone feels like their input is valued.
  3. Promote diversity and inclusivity: Generation Z employees value inclusivity and diversity. Encourage a culture that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, and make sure that everyone feels respected and valued for who they are.
  4. Provide opportunities for global perspectives: Generation Z employees value a global perspective. Encourage them to learn about other cultures and provide them with opportunities to work with people from diverse backgrounds.
  5. Offer Competitive Compensation and benefits: Generation Z employees value financial stability and a competitive salary and benefits package.
  6. Emphasize technology and digital skills: Generation Z employees are digital natives, and technology is an integral part of their lives. Provide them with opportunities to learn and use new technologies and digital tools, and make sure that they feel comfortable with the technology that the company uses.

CEOs who offer opportunities for innovation, foster a culture of collaboration, promote diversity and inclusivity, provide opportunities for global perspectives, offer competitive compensation and benefits, and emphasize technology and digital skills, can create an environment that appeals to Generation Z employees and helps retain them in the long term.

What’s a CEO to Do?

In a very real sense, there’s nothing new here. There have long been generational differences in the workforce that we’ve needed to understand and appreciate.

But, these are very different times. Decades ago it wasn’t normal for people to want to frequently “bounce” from one job or one company to another. Today, for many, it is. What was normal then was long-term stability and earning a pension. Almost no one thinks that way today.

Today, there are distinct differences in how generations value accessing information. Whereas decades ago you could reach everyone with print, today we must choose between video, audio, print, and graphic art, and even then, choose social channels, influencers, review sites, and more to reach and inspire potential employees.

In an increasingly challenging labor market, what should you do to maximize your efforts and identify the appropriate generations for your workforce? For figuring out how to best reach and inspire them to act? To understand best practices for retaining and developing employees and leaders? For managing your online reputation as an employer and a great place to work and thrive?

The need to answer these high-level questions is just one reason that CEOs benefit from joining a CEO Peer Group. It’s how they learn what other executives are doing and bring their own challenges to the group for unbiased feedback and guidance.

It’s how CEOs grow as leaders and make better decisions. Even the most famous celebrity CEOs know that joining a CEO Peer Group is better than the alternative of “going it alone.”

If you’d like to see if joining a CEO Peer Group is right for you, contact us below. I’m looking forward to discussing that with you.

As CEOs, we confront critical choices – growth strategies, succession planning, employee engagement, leadership development…the list seems endless. The weight of these decisions can feel exhilarating, yet also stressful. And lonely.

Even though I started an INC. 500 company, I spent too many years trying to navigate it all solo. I’ve learned every CEO needs a community of peers who understand the unique challenges we face.

Peernacle is a private peer advisory group where leaders in southern Virginia come together and help one another to make better decisions and grow as leaders. If you’re looking for a community where you can gain insight from others who have sat in your seat, explore Peernacle group membership.