Four Advantages of a Multigenerational Workforce

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

A multigenerational workforce is one where the employee population comprises people from various age groups. We currently have at least five different generations active in the workplace: the Silent Generation, Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. Gen Alpha, the generation following Gen Z, is just entering the teenage years but will soon be entering into the workforce. In the past, we’ve written about how to support a multigenerational workplace. Now let’s review why it can be a crucial advantage.

  1. Different perspectives. Working with people from different age groups is a great way to provide different perspectives and experiences. It’s also a great way to avoid groupthink (when everyone thinks, approaches a problem, and/or makes decisions similarly) and confirmation bias (when we create a story in our mind and look for information to prove it to be true or confirm our story while avoiding or dismissing any contradictory information).
  2. Mentorship opportunities. A multigenerational workforce can create natural conditions for mentorship to arise. This doesn’t just mean mentorship in the sense of older workers mentoring or supporting younger workers– it can also include ‘reverse mentorship,’ which is when younger employees share their experiences, perspectives, and areas of expertise with older colleagues.
  3. Greater innovation. Research tells us that bringing together diverse teams can lead to increased creativity and innovative solutions for solving problems and getting work done. Having workers from multiple generations is one way to achieve a diverse team.
  4. Knowledge sharing. A workforce with employees from different generations means there will be a healthy mix of employees just starting out in their careers, along with seasoned workers starting to transition out. This allows for knowledge sharing and retention (not all of your employees will be heading for retirement simultaneously, for example) and can lead to smoother transitions as people come and go. 

While many employers and organizations focus on diversity in terms of identity groups such as race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and veteran status (among others), age diversity doesn’t always take a leading role when we think of diversity at work. However, this identity group can and should be supported, given the inherent advantages that can be found when your workforce comprises people from different generations.