Bridging the Generation Gap

From the younger baby boomers to Gen Z, today’s workforce often spans four generations. While there’s proven value in employing multiple generations, a multigenerational workforce also presents a unique set of challenges – specifically, these generations are often looking for different things from their employers, such as retirement options and communication styles. Here, we’ve asked industry leaders how they are designing and operating a company that holds multigenerational appeal.

Mark Hite Real estate agentA multigenerational workplace is at the core of my business. Our team spans the gamut. In an environment where the workplace has shifted due to the pandemic, I recognize the importance of offering a workplace that is flexible and fits the lifestyle of each generation.

The first piece I recognize of the multigenerational puzzle is flexibility of benefits and their value to employees. Although we have seen younger generations who don’t necessarily weigh the value of benefits like healthcare plans and IRA accounts as heavily as baby boomers would, it is important for me to offer options to my employees so they can work and plan for the future.

Another piece is access to technology and resources. Some agents on my team can work from smartphones and others prefer to use a desktop or laptop. It’s important that I offer resources and programs that can be adapted for both.

Beyond these, there is the increasing need for flexibility with remote work. There are some positions on my team, such as inside sales, that can’t be as flexible as others without diminishing returns, but several of my employees are able to work remotely, hybrid or in-office, depending on their role and preference.

Mark Hite, Real Estate Agent, The Mark Hite Team

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janet leamon of tvfcuTo attract and retain employees across multiple generations, it is essential to provide robust  benefits that meet a wide variety of needs. At TVFCU, we offer benefits that center on health and wellness (paid employee medical and dental, on-site fitness center), work-life balance (variety of work schedules, paid vacation and holidays, life assistance program, mentoring program), and financial security (401k matching contribution, student loan assistance, tuition reimbursement, flexible spending accounts, life insurance, short-term and long-term disability benefits). Our employees are our most valuable asset, so we are committed to maintaining an enjoyable and productive work environment, offering professional development opportunities, and focusing on the overall well-being of new and seasoned team members.

Recognizing, respecting, and valuing the differences of each generation provides opportunities to discover the unique skills and experiences of each individual. Fostering this culture allows us to learn from each other, reduces any focus on generational differences, and allows us to benefit from the strengths and talents each person brings to the team.

Every employee at TVFCU has the opportunity to enhance the financial life of those in our community – across all generations. For our employees, members, and the entire community, TVFCU strives to be “A Place for All of Us!”

Janet Leamon, Vice President of Human Resources, Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union

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Denise Raby Director of Human Resources, Elder’s Ace HardwareAt Elder’s, we’ve enjoyed a multi-generational workforce throughout our history. Our company employs associates in all life stages – high school students seeking their first job, stay-at-home parents, and retirees who want to use their home repair skills or simply stay connected with people. We find the generations regularly help each other. Baby boomers tend to have had more life opportunities to learn plumbing, electrical, and painting skills, among others. Meanwhile, millennials and Gen Zers have had more access to technology. We’ve designed our training programs to include a mixture of computer-based learning and in-person or virtual seminars to appeal to all generational learning styles. In addition, Elder’s offers flexible work schedules and benefits that address generational issues such as new parents’ leave and a matching 401k with knowledgeable investment advisors to help associates plan for retirement. Employing multiple generations has led to retaining high performers. In fact, many of our senior leaders began working for Elder’s in high school. Long-tenured, well-trained associates are a key factor in Elder’s mission to be our community’s most helpful and trusted retail team.

Denise Raby, Director of Human Resources, Elder’s Ace Hardware

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Darcy DuVall Human Resources Director, Roper CorporationAt Roper Corporation, some members of our team are high school students and others have been here for 40 years. We know the workforce is changing, and that what people want from work is changing. While there are generational differences, there are many commonalities too. The foundation for us is building a workplace that embraces safety, respect, communication, compliance, diversity, and inclusion. Having a strong culture helps us attract and retain diverse talent, and we know that it makes us a stronger company. From there, we back up our commitments with action, from policies to the way we communicate. We’ve even embraced social media and have a TikTok account. We want to make it fun and meet people where they are.

We know that flexibility and work-life balance are important to our employees, and this spans different generations. One of the biggest changes we’ve made has been around flexible scheduling. Full-time schedules simply do not work for everyone. Employees can choose the day or days they work, the length of their shift, and even which line they work on. The only requirement is that they work one four-hour shift per month to remain active. This has been popular with people who are not ready to fully retire, students, and single parents. Time off is also important for younger generations. We’ve changed our benefits so that employees can begin earning vacation time right away and even purchase more.

Darcy DuVall, Human Resources Director, Roper Corporation

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