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Managing the Generational Gap in the Workplace


Human capital management solutions can help allow businesses to focus on creating the best working environment for all staff, from recruiting and training to compensation and benefits. One area that many companies are increasingly focusing on is managing the generational gap in the workplace. Companies often have staff at all levels, ages, and stages of their careers. Strategic workforce planning can enable companies to make the most of each generation's expertise and create cohesive plans to attract and retain top talent at all levels. Here's a closer look at how HR departments can help close the generational gap in the workplace.

Generations in the Workplace

There are currently as many as four different generations working together inside companies. Each generation contributes unique perspectives, talents, and insights to the business world. Companies are increasingly developing human capital management strategies that enable them to offer the best employment experiences to a diverse employee base. Each generation may have varied strengths and concerns, and differences in styles and expectations can sometimes create tension. Proactively anticipating those needs and explicitly planning for them as part of your company's human capital management strategy can help you head-off conflict while capturing the benefits of intergenerational collaboration.

Learning Across the Generations

Ensuring that senior managers and workers have the opportunity to share their knowledge with younger generations before retirement is an area of particular interest for company HR departments. Does your employee learning and leadership training plan take this into consideration? What skills, experience, and insights need to be shared? Engaging more senior staff as trainers and mentors can help pass along critical knowledge and culture throughout your company. It can also help build bridges between different generations of staff.

Recruiting Expectations Have Changed

Each generation may have different expectations regarding recruitment. For example, older employees may be more comfortable with traditional recruiting processes that include resumes and interviews. They may be more likely to find jobs through advertisements, word of mouth, and referrals. Younger candidates often expect a different experience, including mobile-optimized applicant tracking systems, applications that integrate with LinkedIn, and learning about jobs through social recruiting. Consider how best to create an effective recruiting process that speaks to candidates at different levels with diverse expectations.

Compensation and Benefits

While compensation scales and benefits plans tend to be company-wide, it is useful to acknowledge that employees in different generations may have different concerns. For younger employees, educational reimbursement, training programs, and family leave policies may be critical differentiators. Older employees may be more concerned with retirement benefits, time-off policies, or the availability of  a flexible work schedule. Many companies are also evaluating the viability of providing different levels of insurance coverage that can be selected according to the employee's needs. Consider whether your compensation and benefits plans reflect the needs and interests of workers across different generations.

Many businesses employ multiple generations in the workplace. From training initiatives to compensation and benefits planning, human capital management solutions can help you provide the best experience possible for employees regardless of age and experience.


This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.