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Recruiting and
retaining a mixed-
generation
workforce
Alex Holly, Head of HR,
WECA
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
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+)
 ?
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
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”
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
Questions?
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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Alex Holly - Multigenerational Workforce

  • 1. Recruiting and retaining a mixed- generation workforce Alex Holly, Head of HR, WECA
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  • 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