Clash of the multi-generational workforce: Fact or fiction?
Theories abound regarding the gap that exists between the four generations who make up today's workforce and what they value in an employer. Conventional wisdom suggests that each generation's varying outlooks, beliefs and perspectives make it difficult to meet the needs of a wide range of workers.
Of course, each group has its own distinct characteristics based on its generation's life experiences. However, when it comes to work and what they seek in an employer, are their core beliefs really so radically different? Not according to the results of a new survey by Ricoh¹.
When it comes to generational differences, what was previously thought to be conflict is actually consensus: a desire to be more collaborative and create a corporate culture that actively demonstrates respect and inclusion for today's multi-generational workforce.
First, let's define today's generations who are working together:
Baby Boomers: Born 1946–1964
Generation X: Born 1965–1980
Generation Y: Born 1981–1995
Generation Z: Born 1996–Today
What's true is that for the first time in history, four generations — representing a wide range of ages — are working side-by-side. However, according to the data, which is based on a survey of 1,500 office-based workers across the United States and Canada, finds the generational divide in the workplace to be a myth.
According to the study, 71% of respondents find a cross-generational workplace to be an asset to a company and 76% of those same workers enjoy working alongside colleagues of different ages. It's no longer about just financial success. Workers from across the generations call on businesses to be a force for good and drive positive change in the world.
By the numbers: What's important to workers
The combination of various generations is like two sides of the same coin. Flip this coin over, you might be in for a surprise: It's very similar.
Respondents are just as interested in how a business develops its people and how it contributes to society as they are in its products and profits.Findings include:
An average of 72% across all generations believe in their company's values and ideals.
Workers are personally invested in their workplaces, with an average of 59% across all generations viewing their work as a key factor in defining who they are as a person.
An average of 68% across all generations think the way the world does business will change dramatically in the next five to 10 years.
65% of workers agree sustainability needs to be at the center of business and product strategies in the next five to 10 years.
66% agree technology should play a central role in helping them work to the best of their abilities.
74% believe that the best workplaces invest in digital technologies for up-skilling staff.
Make the most of multi-generation workers
Different generations, similar values
¹ This report is based on a survey of 1,500 office-based employees across North America. The survey was conducted by Coleman Parkes and commissioned by Ricoh.