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February 8th, 2022 · 5 min read

Best practices for supporting a multigenerational workplace with L&D

Navigating a multigenerational workplace

  • Baby Boomers: born 1946-1964
  • Generation X: born 1965-1980
  • Millennials: born 1981-1996
  • Generation Z: born 1997-2012 

The benefits and challenges of a multigenerational workplace

Benefits of a multigenerational workforce

  • Mentorship and sponsorship opportunities
    Mentoring or sponsoring relationships between senior and junior employees are a critical aspect of on-the-job learning and development. And more recently, organizations have begun to encourage mutually beneficial, cross-generational collaboration wherein older and younger employees are able to provide valuable insight and instruction to each other, benefitting both in the process.
  • Pipeline building
    Having a wide range of ages within your workforce gives you better access to a more expansive talent pool. This enables you to more easily plan for succession and get junior employees in line for leadership and other advanced positions.
  • Better innovation and problem-solving
    A variety of perspectives bolsters better decision-making and creative thought. Including multigenerational experience on your team allows you to facilitate novel approaches to problem-solving and new adaptations within the workplace. 

Challenges of a multigenerational workforce

  • Varied relationships to employment
    Members of different generations often have different expectations of their employer, with some valuing job security over pay or purposeful work over advancement. But it’s important to note that these values may not break along the generational lines one might predict.Cultivating a company culture with the right perks, benefits and growth opportunities that appease different generations can pose a significant challenge.
  • Different preferences for communication
    Members of different generations may have a variety of preferences regarding how communications are sent and received, whether in-person, instant messaging, texting, on-camera video conference, off-camera video, or a classic phone call or email.You should expect to keep a variety of channels open to accommodate the needs of your multigenerational workforce and educate employees with best practices on how and when to use each channel.
  • Varied relationships to technology
    Varying relationships and understanding of technologies ranging from social media to job-specific digital solutions is a particular challenge as many businesses continue to move towards an increasingly hybrid workspace.

    Organizational leaders can’t assume that all employees will have an implicit level of digital intelligence. Some may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to ask for help, and others may be frustrated at their colleague's lack of technical understanding.

How to manage learning and development for a multigenerational workplace

Identify the needs of a multigenerational workforce

Make learning and development accessible 

  • Replace tuition reimbursement with a direct-bill workforce education program 
  • Train people managers on how to best guide direct reports that might be new to workplace learning
  • Develop training for those less technologically experienced
  • Offer a wide breadth of courses and degree plans to help every generation of employees to advance toward their career goals. 

Use technology to bridge generational gaps

Supporting the advancement of a multigenerational workforce

You can address talent development challenges