On a quarterly basis we bring together top talent from the HR, L&D and OD fields to share their knowledge and experience with their peers in a safe and welcoming environment. At the last Head Resourcing HR Leadership Forum, kindly hosted for us by The University of Edinburgh, we were joined by Get the Gen who shared their insights, research and advice on engaging young talent and creating the right conditions for our multi- generational workforces to thrive.
We thought we’d summarise five key takeaways for you:
1. Consider the data fully
It’s important to explore beyond the ‘sound bites’ which can often stereotype a generation. Whilst there are commonalities within a generation, in terms of needs and expectations, there can also be differences across cultures. Much of the data we have is only at a national level or from countries in Europe/North America/Australia/NZ.
2. This isn’t anything new? Or is it?
There have always been ‘generational differences’, either perceived or otherwise and we’ve always had a workforce made up of several generations. However, for the first time ever, we can have up to five generations within our workforce at the same time. This brings with it a significant challenge from a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion perspective. Get the Gen research has found that;
“age and experience diversity isn’t ‘championed or campaigned for’ as much as other aspects of this landscape, and instead employers expect age and experience to come and grow through their organisation naturally.”
3. Lived experiences
Considering what significant events take place in the formative years for any generation can help us to develop more of an understanding (e.g. it’s often quoted that Gen Z’s are less resilient than other generations, however it could be that Boomers and Gen X’s are simply judging them against standards that are no longer considered the norm.)
4. The personal touch
Although Gen Z are the first generation in the workplace that has never been ‘offline’, research shows that they value the human elements of work (e.g. Rainmaker Thinking surveyed over 4,000 Gen Z’s who said that “supportive leadership” and “positive relationships at work” were the two most important factors to consider in a job and a study by Kronos showed that 34% of Gen Z expect senior leadership to be accessible and available for learning and feedback). Again, technology has meant that this generation has grown up with perceived ‘full access’ to the lives of famous icons and role models via social media, so this transparency and openness may also be expected from leaders in other areas of their lives.
5. What EVERYONE needs
Through their research, Get the Gen have reminded us of the key conditions required for everyone to thrive and these incorporate: trust, psychological safety, connections and relationships, recognition, giving and receiving feedback, purpose in our work, realistic expectations and an opportunity to grow our skills.
Ultimately, each of us can take responsibility to help create the right conditions to be productive and effective at work. A great place to start is seeking a baseline understanding of the perspectives, beliefs and needs of our colleagues.
Our HR Leadership Forum series welcomes HR, L&D and OD leaders, in an informal, relaxed setting to discuss and debate topics important to our organisations. Our next event will be hosted by STV on Thursday 7th September and our topic will be: The rise of artificial intelligence at work. We will be joined by guest speaker, David Milne, Head of Digital and Cross Platform, STV News.
If you’d like to find out more, please reach out to Sarah Prasad, Senior HR Business Partner: firstname.lastname@example.org