The current period is a peculiar one in terms of diversity in the workplace. For the first time, four generations coexist in the workplace: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. The results of a 2014 sociological study show that each generation has a specific working style
The role of the organisational structure and the HR department in this context is to encourage diversity in the workplace and, at the same time, to blur the barriers that may arise between different groups. Here are the 5 practices we rely on at DWF to overcome differences in age as well as gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.
1.So many generations, so many preferences
1.1. Baby-Boomers generation
Known as the first generation to enjoy harmony and prosperity after the two world wars and the great economic crisis, the Baby-Boomer generation includes those born between 1946 and 1964. Members of this generation are usually characterised by loyalty, a strong work ethic and a strong spirit of sacrifice in the workplace. Baby Boomers are adept at communicating effectively, which is why they often prefer phone calls.
The ideal workplace for this generation is one that encourages goal setting, deadlines and competitiveness.
1.2. Generation X
The period 1965-1980 is the period of Generation X. Inspired by the civil rights movements of this period, Generation Xers are keen on diversity and work-life balance. Unlike Baby Boomers, Generation Xers do not hesitate to quit a job if it does not meet their expectations and needs.
For good retention of employees belonging to this generation, employers need to offer flexibility, understanding of personal needs and diversity in the workplace.
1.3. Millennials (Y)
Born between 1981 and 2000, millennials are tech-savvy and are also known as Generation Y. Adept at written communication, generally via SMS and email, millennials live and work at a fast pace. They place an emphasis on cultivating passion both in their private lives and in the workplace, and want, above all, to develop personally through the activities they do during working hours.
Millennials support change if they find themselves in it. Otherwise, they will replace their work environment with one where they feel they fit in better. To encourage and help them feel included in the workplace, employers need to be aware of their preferences and inclinations, provide them with development opportunities and constant feedback.
1.4. Generation Z
The youngest generation in the labour market (2001-2020), Generation Z continues the movement towards a more flexible working environment started by their predecessors. Thus, representatives of this generation prefer to work remotely according to a work schedule adapted to personal needs. Unlike previous generations, zoomers are no longer willing to work the traditional 9 to 5 schedule, but prefer a project-based way of working, preferably as diverse as possible to prevent routine.
To attract and retain members of Generation Z, largely inclined towards freelancing and entrepreneurship, employers need to offer as wide a range of projects and activities as possible, so that they feel they can develop. Personalised work solutions, individualism and adapting to one’s own needs are aspects that Generation Z will value in the workplace.
2. What’s happening at DWF?
At DWF we not only encourage diversity, we enjoy the opportunity to have different perspectives on the work environment. Although the numbers show a predominance of millennials, there are representatives from the last 3 generations within the company, namely, X, Y and Z. Find out what practices we follow to bridge the generation gap at DWF.
3. Practices to encourage intergenerational cooperation
3.1. Recruitment without prejudice
In order to give equal opportunities to all, it is important to follow a recruitment process that is free from bias and subjectivity. By establishing a profile and a set of desired skills, this reduces the errors of judgement that can affect the recruitment decision-making process.
The tests taken in the first stage are designed to highlight the knowledge of candidates, regardless of their age or background. Involving as many team members as possible in the interview and candidate selection stages increases the objectivity of the final decision.
3.2. Knowing personal needs
At the beginning of the telemunk period we realised that it is now more necessary than ever to understand the needs of our colleagues. Therefore, we put a lot of emphasis on individual sessions in which we discuss the evolution and development of each of us. In addition to the feedback given and received, we learn in these sessions what problems colleagues are facing, what wishes and aspirations they have.
Job satisfaction surveys, both quantitative and qualitative, have become a constant in the DWF. The advice and suggestions received are taken on board and applied further within the team.
3.3. Benefits for all
Flexibility is the order of the day when it comes to DWF employees’ preferences. Based on the feedback we have received from them, we are open to both work from home/work from anywhere and hybrid working for colleagues who want to come to the office occasionally. Furthermore, we support flexible working hours because we understand both the need for students to attend classes and the need for parents to provide care and support for their children.
Since the well-being of colleagues is closely related to the state of health, we place great emphasis on benefits that provide prevention and medical treatment. These are universally appreciated regardless of group membership. Also included in this category are training benefits such as online subscriptions, participation in digital events, exchange of professional experience within the CEEDA group.
Unity in diversity
When it comes to working procedures, responsibilities, objectives and internal communication, we prefer a unitary system because it encourages efficiency and consensus. Uniformity of the working system is what allows for the greatest possible diversity in teams.
As for workflows, they are customized to the skills and inclinations of each individual. Time and experience have shown us that it is the passion for a particular area that makes the difference when it comes to quality and results.
Generational differences are not to be avoided, but desirable within the DWF team. The values of each generation help us innovate, empathize, discover new things and thus become better at what we do every day.