Getting the best out of different generations in the workplace

Continual social and economic changes affect people in different ways which mean that different generations will have changing job needs. Businesses need to be in tune with the needs of the different generations they employ, so they can get the best out of their workforce and continue to attract the right talent.

Gen Z – born in the mid 1990s – early 2000s
This generation are typically studying or starting out on their career. According to research, they have more worries about the economy and want financial security as a result.

There are also increasing levels of mental health issues associated with this generation, including anxiety and depression. Mental health support is key and employers can support in a number of ways, such as providing mental health information and support in the workplace. Providing information on mental health topics and where to turn to for help, can really help to break down barriers and the stigmatism associated with mental health. Providing an EAP with a professional confidential helpline support valuable too.

Millennials – born in the 1980s to mid 1990s
Younger Millennials face similar issues to Gen Z and are looking for support in making the transition from education to the work place. Millennials are also looking for career development opportunities and generally like working in teams. Because they’ve grown up with technology, they tend to be more tech savvy and are capable of networking, far beyond the workplace – maybe right into a job elsewhere!

They look for leadership and feedback on their performance so mentoring and appraisal systems and employee recognition schemes really work for them.

Generation X – born between 1965 and 1980
Generation Xers in the workplace still want to build on their skills which they can take with them if they choose to. They tend to be more comfortable with informality and are more independent in the workplace

Their priorities lie in looking after their family, both children and their own parents. The option for flexible working and to buy holidays can help improve their work-life balance, allowing employees to spend more time with their family.


Baby Boomers – born between 1944 and 1964
Baby boomers who are not yet retired are still valuable in the work place and their knowledge and experience tends to make them good mentors.

They’re likely to be considering their retirement options and potentially reduce their working hours and wind down at the end of their career. Like Generation Xers, flexible working and the option to buy holidays really appeals to babay boomers.

Also, as we get older we are more likely to face health problems, so boomers tend to have this in mind. Employee benefits which offer advice and savings on healthcare can help employees significantly.

Understanding and communication is key
By understanding the needs of the different generations in your workforce, you’ll be able to tailor your approach to satisfying and ultimately retain and recruit staff.  Never forget though the value of communication – it doesn’t matter how good your support or benefits offering is if your staff are not aware of it.

Communications also helps to show that the business cares about employee wellbeing and career development, leading to a happier and more engaged workforce.