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Talent Management: from B to Z

Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z work side by side in one of the most diverse labour markets in history. And now, how to manage this generational melting pot?

To speak of a generation is to characterize a series of behaviours and expectations of the majority of a group of people, according to the time in which they lived.

This generalization should always be "seasoned" with the appropriate "salt", since we are analysing trends - without forgetting the influence that flows between generations and, above all, what we all have in common and what will always set us apart - our individuality.

If on the one hand the idea of generational labels may seem like "thinking inside boxes", the truth is that statistically there is some foundation that can help us better understand what motivates different generations:

  • Baby Boomers: Discipline and a spirit of collective sacrifice are characteristics that tend to describe the working profile of Baby Boomers;
  • Generation X: Financial stability and career building within organizations are a priority for Generation X;
  • Millennials: Increasing academic and professional qualifications is a concern for Millennials, as well as the future of the planet and social causes;
  • Generation Z: A balance between personal and professional life and flexible work arrangements are the main priorities for Generation Z, along with dedication to social causes and sustainability.

Generational Diversity in the workplace

How do we respond to the different purposes, aligning them with the company's strategy while bringing out the best in everyone?

Being aware of what we have in common can be a good starting point. According to some authors, there are three basic needs that we all share:

  • To be heard (active listening and empathy);
  • To be noticed/recognized; and
  • To have the right to make mistakes (to understand that mistakes are part of learning and evolution).

This could be the basis towards a culture of generational diversity and inclusion.

Managing Generational Diversity in the Workplace - 6 tips for Embracing and Mastering Generational Diversity

1.      Identifying effective internal communication

if we want to be effective in our communication, we must adjust it so that it is received in the way that each generation best receives and perceives it, even if this means using more than one medium at the same time. In the new generations, fax has given way to e-mail, and chats and social networks have gained momentum. The format of the message must also be dynamic and appealing, with clear and objective content; after all, a Tik Tok video can give us a recipe in less than a minute.

2.     Promoting active listening

Leaders must be prepared to receive, accept, and work on the feedback they receive. All feedback from employees should be seen as raw material, to be worked on in an assertive and practical way. Recognition can make a difference, the more your voice is heard and the more you intervene. In this topic, proximity and consistency are gaining more and more strength, because if in the past, the issues of employee dissatisfaction and displeasure longed for the annual debriefing to be heard, nowadays the dynamism of the working world has brought the need for these "pains" to be recognized by the leadership as quickly as possible.

3.     Build an environment of constant feedback and feedforward

The new generations have expressed the need to constantly calibrate their performance with the organization's objectives. The “work for life” has now given way to work that enhances the development of employees' skills. There is also a need for positive reinforcement, both from leadership and peers. It's important to pay attention to tools that increase levels of engagement between colleagues and with the organization, through the sharing of agile and constant feedback.

4.     Creating a culture of diversity, without forgetting inclusion

Diversity is nothing without inclusion and long gone are the days when this concern was seen as corporate social responsibility. Currently, inclusion is a necessity, it's imperative; in a market that is teeming with talent, we must be able to identify it, whatever form it presents itself.

5.     Investing in building a strong employer branding

Recruitment and selection has changed paradigm. While in the past it was companies that selected one of several candidates who applied for a job, nowadays the candidates and employees of the new generations aim for much more than a job offer. They aspire to be part of a company with character, personality, and purpose; and a company reaches its “climax”, the greater its real representation of the society in which we live.

6.     Let's not forget the watchword: Flexibility

More than a characteristic associated with a certain generation, we need to accept that something that is here to stay is the growing importance of reconciling family, professional and personal life. Are there still doubts? The latest figures show that there is a growing number of people for whom the improvement in quality of life outweighs the increase in salary.

Ângela Motaco

Talent Manager at Mind Source -