Managing a multigenerational workforce poses new challenges for leaders and entrepreneurs. It is necessary to take into account the strengths, expectations and needs of each generation, and then apply appropriate management methods. It is also important to ensure effective communication with all employees. So how to meet this challenge?

Managing a multigenerational workforce – table of contents:

  1. 5 generations in the workplace
  2. Managing a multigenerational workforce
  3. Summary

5 generations in the workplace

Different approaches to work and priorities can both benefit and harm the company. A good understanding of the characteristics of each generation can contribute to the development of the organization, the introduction of new innovative solutions and gaining a competitive advantage. At the same time, incompetent intergenerational management will negatively affect team communication, atmosphere and organizational culture, and consequently, also employee productivity.

In order to avoid these negative consequences, it is necessary to define all generations, especially their needs, priorities, expectations and strengths, which can significantly affect the development of the organization. At present, there are five active generations in the labor market:

  • Traditionalists, also known as the “silent generation” (born between 1925 – 1944). Despite their retirement age, many members of this generation choose to stay active at work. Traditionalists are loyal workers – this quality shows not only at work, but also in their private lives (they are loyal to their partners, families, religious beliefs).
  • Baby Boomers (born between 1943 – 1960). After World War II there was a significant increase in births. As baby boomers had to face fierce competition in the job market, they paid much attention to their professional achievements.
  • Generation X (born between 1961 – 1981). Representatives of this generation are individualists who value independence, autonomy and freedom in the workplace. The “X” placed in the name of the generation refers to the unknown. It means that members of this generation often feel lost and are looking for the meaning of life.
  • Generation Y, also known as Millennials (born between 1980 – 2000). Representatives of this generation grew up with the Internet and new technologies, so they are more tech-savvy than previous generations. They value a good work/life balance, so despite their great ambitions, they don’t put work above their family, friends and private life.
  • Generation Z (born between 1995 – 2012). They are the youngest people in the contemporary labor market. They are willing to grow and open to new challenges. They feel responsible for their careers, and at the same time appreciate flexibility and suitable working conditions.

Managing a multigenerational workforce

multigenerational workforce

How to manage a multigenerational workforce? Check out our useful tips.

Understand members of each generation and adjust your management strategies

Representatives of each generation have different values, expectations, and are motivated by different factors. We have gathered this information, along with tips for leaders on how to manage different generations, in the table below.

Generation Strengths and description Motivating factors and fringe benefits Tips for leaders
Traditionalists (1925-1944)
  • Loyalty
  • Attachment to tradition
  • Avoiding conflicts
  • Diligence
  • Determination
  • Financial rewards
  • Stability in the workplace
  • Pension plans
  • Company history and traditions
  • Be sincere and honest.
  • Show appreciation for their work and commitment.
  • Use their knowledge and experience to teach younger generations.
  • Prepare them early for possible changes.
Baby Boomers (1961-1981)
  • Diligence
  • Competitiveness
  • Goal orientation
  • Team players
  • Mentors
  • Respect for authority figures
  • Healthcare
  • Recognition and awards
  • Promotion and professional development
  • Pension funds
  • Appreciate their work and commitment publicly.
  • Show respect for their experience and work.
  • Put them in the role of mentors – to share their knowledge and experience with younger generations.
  • Provide them with professional development.
Generation X (1961-1981)
  • Independence
  • Ambition
  • They can be called “revenue generators
  • Awards and bonuses
  • Remote work
  • Constructive feedback
  • Maintain two-way communication and provide regular feedback.
  • Be flexible.
  • Especially when they want to balance their personal and professional life.
  • Be honest about what the company can offer them.
Millennials (1980-2000)
  • Multitasking
  • Good knowledge of technology
  • Ambitious and confident
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Accepting diversity
  • Work-life balance
  • Promotion,
  • Personal development
  • Flexible working hours
  • Organizational culture
  • Openness and diversity in the organization
  • Frequent feedback
  • Offer support and feedback.
  • Encourage them to share ideas and involve them in the decision-making process.
  • Allow them to create their own processes.
  • Show that their work is meaningful.
Generation Z (1995-2012)
  • Good knowledge of technology and social media
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Multitasking
  • Innovation
  • Openness
  • Flexible working hours
  • Adequate pay
  • Personal development
  • Organizational culture
  • Mentoring
  • Health care
  • Regular feedback
  • Bet on direct communication.
  • Provide feedback.
  • Offer support in their work and career development.
  • Be authentic, convey the company’s values.
  • Be flexible and offer them to do independent projects.

Break stereotypes

Stereotyping can be harmful, not only to representatives of the generations in question, but also to the company itself. Making decisions based on common assumptions, instead of on real employees’ needs, can lead to wasting their potential. This also translates into poorer communication and team cooperation, and as a result, it may contribute to increased turnover, as a dissatisfied and misunderstood employee will want to change a job quickly.

Today, most people have access to the Internet or traditional media. This is where we can find various publications, which, in order to catch readers’ attention, have misleading clickbait headings. Such posts don’t usually deliver the content that the headline implies. Browsing through them consolidates a particular image of the generation in question, which is then copied by more people.

The best solution to avoid stereotypes is to actively listen to co-workers. Being open to their real needs and values, it will be easier for leaders to use their potential at work, choose the right management method and offer appropriate benefits that will motivate them to perform their duties diligently. In addition, an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding will positively influence relations and team cooperation.

Encourage employees to share their knowledge

For some generations (traditionalists, baby boomers), the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience is actually an expected benefit and motivator. By putting such people in the role of mentors, leaders show them respect and trust. Younger generations, on the other hand, are open to acquiring new knowledge and personal development, so they are willing to take advice from more experienced employees.

This doesn’t mean, however, that the roles can’t be reversed. Learning from each other is another way to break stereotypes and communicate better. Consequently, this leads to new and innovative ideas that positively influence the company’s growth.

Be flexible

In a multigenerational team, every employee will have different expectations, especially in terms of working arrangements and schedules.This is influenced by many factors, for example, childcare or productivity during the day (some people are more productive in the morning, others prefer to work in the evening).

Being inflexible in such a case serves neither the employees nor the company. Therefore, it is worth developing a strategy that will allow each employee to perform their duties at a convenient time and place. There are some difficulties associated with this, as working at different hours can hinder communication, especially if someone expects immediate feedback.

It is helpful to use asynchronous communication to solve this problem. Under this method, the employee’s performance is taken into account, not the hours spent behind a desk. Asynchronous communication also does not require an immediate response to messages, as writing someone back while they are performing a specific task can distract them.

Project management tools make it much easier to be flexible toward your subordinates’ expectations. Firmbee is a comprehensive solution that allows you to track project progress (using Kanban boards), distribute and assign tasks to individual team members, share documentation, create contact databases, as well as control company receipts and expenses. In addition, users can take advantage of ATS, HRMS and CRM solutions, which make managing a multigenerational workforce more efficient.


Managing a multigenerational workforce poses many challenges, but undertaking this task can bring many benefits to your company, in the form of engaged and loyal employees, greater productivity and innovative ideas, which will ultimately translate into the company’s growth.

Read also: Bridging the generation gap in the workplace.

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Leading across generations. 4 useful tips for managing a multigenerational workforce nicole mankin avatar 1background

Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.