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Alex Holly - Multigenerational Workforce

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Alex Holly - Multigenerational Workforce

  1. 1. Recruiting and retaining a mixed- generation workforce Alex Holly, Head of HR, WECA
  2. 2. What is WECA and what do we do? • The West of England Combined Authority was formed in 2017 and a new Regional Mayor was elected • We cover Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire and work closely with the councils • We promote the region and bring in investment for projects that will help people who live here and the businesses that are based here • We work with a range of partners across the region to improve jobs, skills, housing and transport Tim Bowles Mayor of the West of England Patricia Greer CEO of the West of England Combined Authority
  3. 3. The Generations – definitions and some (negative) stereotypes • ‘Baby boomers’ (post WW2 to mid 1960s)  “out of touch”, “resistant to change” • ‘Generation X’ (mid 1960s to early 1980s)  “cynical”, “not team players”, “can’t make a decision” • ‘Generation Y’ or ‘Millennials’ (early 1980s to 2000)  “entitled”, “lazy”, “need constant reassurance” • ‘Generation Z’ (2000+)  ?
  4. 4. Boomers – what shaped us? • Grew up in a time of huge opportunity and change. • Rapid and unprecedented economic growth. • The first generation to have significant disposable income – could buy houses, cars, holidays • Hold 80% of the UK’s wealth, despite making up 30% of the population. • But some grew up through significant political and social change – Vietnam, Civil Rights movement
  5. 5. Boomers – how we work, what we value • The leaders: Generally in their 50s and 60s, they will have climbed the ladder: many of the senior people in your organisation will be boomers • Tend to be loyal: more than 50% have been with the same employer for more than 10 years. • Tend to value status and security • Tend to value more traditional structures, respect authority and hard work • Tend not to need regular feedback: “I assume I’m doing a good job unless someone tells me otherwise”
  6. 6. Gen X – what shaped us? • Grew up surrounded by unemployment, strikes and uncertainty: the ‘boom’ was over. Job security was prized but not expected. • Thatcherism (and Reaganism in the US) shaped social attitudes and sharpened divisions • Computers in the workplace were becoming commonplace; technology was starting to shape their outlook • First generation to experience a globalised world, first generation for whom a TV in every home was normal
  7. 7. Gen X – how we work, what we value • Less loyal to companies, more loyal to people and work environment • Tend to be diplomats: bridging the gap between ‘boomers’ and ‘millennials’. • Pragmatic and resilient • Many will be leaders in your organisation now • Hard working, but desire more flexibility
  8. 8. Gen Y / Millennials – what shaped us? • Technology, social media – and instant feedback • Iraq War, 9/11, Climate Change, Global Banking Crisis • Opportunities are limited, many do not expect to own a house • World of contract work, zero hour arrangements, ‘working for ‘exposure’ - security is a myth to Gen Y • Issues of social conscience became widely known and shared
  9. 9. Gen Y – how we work, what we value • Social value and purpose is very important – more than any generation before them, they want to work for an organisation that has a positive societal impact • Tend to be less loyal to one employer - over 50% have been with a company for < 3 years. Loyalty is instead to people or causes • People oriented, ambitious, but not ‘born leaders’ - tend to see leadership as collaborative rather than authoritative • Willing to work long hours, but – crucially – want a choice about when to do this. • Tend to value regular, informal feedback • Lateral moves are seen as positively as upward moves
  10. 10. Gen Z – brief summary • Just turning 18 – and entering your workplace! • Apprenticeships, entry level jobs – now, graduate jobs – 2-3 years’ time • Research is limited at this stage, but similar to millennials – except:  No ‘Gen Z’ will have ever known a time without smartphones and the internet  Seem to be even more ‘socially conscious’ than millennials – 60% say they ‘want to have an impact on the world’, versus 40% of millennials
  11. 11. The Generations – Some (positive) Flipsides • ‘Baby boomers’  Confident mentors; independent; strong leaders; loyal • ‘Generation X’ (mid 1960s to early 1980s)  Ready for new challenges; confident mentors; untapped leadership potential • ‘Generation Y’ or ‘Millennials’ (early 1980s to 2000)  Tech savvy; interested in ethics, personal growth; need less financial reward
  12. 12. What does this mean for your business? • Boomers and Gen X are the most likely to be the leaders in your organisation, but.. • Millennials are now the largest group in the workplace, followed by Gen X and then Boomers • By 2020, Millennials are forecast to make up 50 % of your workforce • Traditional structures and ways of working are changing, and we need to plan for this • Gen Z, as ‘Digital Natives’, will further shift the landscape
  13. 13. What are some of the conflicts? • If most of your leaders are boomers or Gen X, they are likely to be the ones setting the culture – and this may not be compatible with Gen Y • Whether some of the stereotypes are true doesn’t necessarily matter: some of the older members of your workforce will hold these views about the younger members, and vice versa • Gen X are frequently ignored, as research tends to focus on Boomers vs Millennials – but these will be your leaders • Traditional hierarchies structures and ways of working will become even less appealing – but you need to strike a balance
  14. 14. What are some of the leadership solutions? • Different drivers thrive on different leadership styles • Balance your leadership team – recruit and develop based on potential, and the skills your organisation needs • Build in different ways to give feedback outside of formal structures • Review your reward toolkit - you need a balance of financial and intrinsic rewards • Start moving your organisation towards a more flexible way of working, where it’s possible to do so – and not just for Gen Y. Gen X are likely to have children, and Boomers are likely to be thinking about flexible retirement or reduced hours. Help them stay, and don’t lose their experience.
  15. 15. What are some of the HR solutions? • Create opportunities for lateral moves – secondments, extra projects • Develop your recruitment strategy on the idea that people may not stay with your organisation for a long time – and that’s ok • Make sure your workforce and succession plan takes account of changing demographics and changing expectations • Get ‘boomers’ / Gen X to mentor Millennials - focus on what generations can learn from each other • Encourage collaboration and flexibility of working styles alongside traditional structures, and reinforce these through your policy approach • Recruitment campaigns need to focus on some of what Millennials want – what social value does your business offer? What flexibility?
  16. 16. Some caveats • While this is based on research, many of the conclusions are general – and it’s important to treat everyone as an individual. • There will be large variations in attitudes and approaches within generations (personality types, learning styles, etc) – some Boomers love technology; some Millennials are already leaders. • Apply the same approach as you would to recruiting and managing any diverse workforce • Remember that every generation was once the newest – and this conversation will continue to evolve as further evidence becomes available.
  17. 17. Questions?
  18. 18. Sources and further reading • ‘Gen up’ – CIPD / Penna Research paper • ‘Management techniques for bringing out the best in generation Y’ – CIO.com • ‘Managing a multi-generational workforce’ – Guidant Group white paper • ‘The future of workplace relations’ – ACAS discussion paper series • ‘Projections of the UK labour force to 2020’ - ONS

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