July 18, 2018 6:27 AM

Generational Diversity and Why It’s so Important

We all know that diversity in the workplace is kind of a big deal. It’s been proven time and time again that having employees from a variety of demographics does wonders for the productivity and all-around happiness of your team. But one particular segment of diversity in the workplace is often ignored, and that is generational diversity.

Yes, age diversity is a thing and if you’re not paying close attention to it in your recruitment efforts, then perhaps it’s time you should, and here’s why.


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Why diversity is such a big deal

We previously went into great detail on the topic of diversity in the workplace and why it’s so important so we won’t labour the point too much here. Suffice to say that with a diverse workplace you will have a group of employees that are more socially aware from a variety of standpoints including culture and gender among others.

And a team that is more socially aware and accepting is more often than not, the team that performs to the best of its abilities. A happy team that over-delivers? You can’t ask for much more than that.


So what’s age got to do with it?

The simple answer to that is: everything. Take a look around your office, and the chances are that the majority of employees in specific departments are in and around the same age with one or two of another generation here and there. While this may seem like the perfect scenario for a team to work well together, it’s not always the case.

Let’s take the marketing department for example. The team is made up of 25-35 year-olds, and they all get along like the proverbial house on fire. Their latest campaign is targeting 45-55 year-olds and while they can do their market research and even pick the brains of family members, a member of that demographic on the team or at least in the office would help a great deal.

Of course, this is a very simplistic example, but you see where we’re going with this. There are some things that only people within certain age groups understand or empathize with, and it’s not just from a marketing perspective. It could be company benefits, dealing with customers and clients, or even what kind of cookies should be in the coffee room. People from different age groups have different opinions, and that’s a very good thing.


The value of experience

The most obvious attribute of employees of older generations is experience. They’ve been through it all, whether it was with the same company for the last twenty years or ten different employers. Perhaps they don’t have the most up-to-date training, but their experience in the workplace is invaluable especially to younger members of the team.

So if we go back to that marketing team example we mentioned earlier, if they were considering hiring a new member, surely an older employee would be ideal, right? Their years of experience and their personal opinions and feelings would be the perfect counterpoint to the exuberance of the younger members currently on the team. And if done just right, they could find the perfect balance.

And this is true no matter what department you are hiring for in your company. If the team is quite young, then an older recruit could help spur them on to greater heights. Or vice versa.


The value of youth

You would be forgiven for assuming that when we talk of generational diversity that it’s mostly relating to having a certain number of older employees on the payroll but in actual fact, the opposite is also true.

Newly graduated recruits or those that have been in the workforce for a short time add creativity, innovative thinking, and a sense of enthusiasm to any office. So while experience is an essential component of any diverse team, so too is youth.

Let’s take technology for example. Younger generations have grown up as tech-savvy individuals who adapt to change quite easily whereas older generations may feel a little stuck with new technology or advanced processes such as those carried out by AI software. Add a young mind fresh out of college to an older team, and they can help their new colleagues adapt more easily.

Then there are inhibitions. Generally speaking, younger generations have no fear of speaking their mind and offering suggestions for changing current processes or implementing new ones. Perhaps this is an eagerness to impress or, more likely; it’s the fact that they are confident enough in their abilities. Either way, this is great for any department as it encourages older team members to speak up and become more active in their roles.


Diversify your benefits too

As you are probably well aware, people from different age groups tend to have different priorities in life, and so when it comes to benefits, they could be poles apart in their desires.

It’s important that if you decide to hire candidates from a variety of age groups that you offer a diverse range of benefits. While younger employees may appreciate the ability to work remotely, older generations may be more interested in company equity or a solid pension plan. So it’s imperative that you diversify your benefits so that your company not only attracts candidates of all ages but keeps them happy once they are on board.


Does your company have a diverse workforce? Have you a nice mix of employees from baby boomers to millennials? If not, then we can help you with that. At vsource, diversity sourcing is one of our specialties and with our combination of technology and human intuition, we’ve grown quite good at it. So if diversity is on your mind, then drop us a line or book a demo today to see how we can help you build a diverse workforce set up for success.


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