Leading a Multi-Generational Workforce


Special Commentary by Jonathan Leibert

The workplace of today is changing at a rapid pace. Technology, Social Media, the Internet and Disruptive Innovation are just a few of the key influencers that we hear about on a regular basis that are impacting the marketplace. Another aspect that is quickly becoming an important topic is managing a multi-generational workforce. Theoretically, employers could have employees ranging from ages 18 to 80 in the workplace and a strong business culture that meets the needs of Millennials, Generation X and the Baby Boomers can be a challenge. The range for each generation differs from source to source but according to Forbes, the range for each generation includes the following: Baby Boomers (1948-1963), Generation X (1964-1978) and Millennials (1979-1991).

One of the most talked about generations is that of the Millennials who now number 75.4 million in the US, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers. This generation will soon become the primary consumer of goods and services offered by businesses, as well as the primary employee that makes up the workforce. The US Census Bureau states these numbers will only continue to increase as young immigrants expand their ranks and the population is expected to peak in 2036 at 81.1 million. There are several reasons that businesses are paying close attention to this generation, one of which being how they spend their money. Per a 2015 study by Cone Communications, 86 percent of Millennials would buy a product with a social or environmental benefit if given the opportunity and 66 percent would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company. 9 out of 10 are more likely to switch brands with a cause and 74 percent will volunteer for a cause supported by a company that they trust.

Millennials have many stereotypes associated with them, but regardless of the validity of the labels, businesses as employers need to understand what drives this generation and for many it is based on a sense of purpose. Some of the key findings of what Millennials are looking for in an employer are no surprise—they want good work/life integration, opportunities to progress and be a leader, flexibility with remote working and flexible hours. But there is another key finding from a Deloitte survey stating that nearly nine in ten Millennials (87 percent) believe that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance”. It is this sense of “meaning” in their work and the belief that businesses need to be more ethical and society-focused that will not only drive them to make a purchase, but will also have them seek out potential employers that have a higher purpose.

To provide more education and valuable information to the business community, the UCCS College of Business and Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado are offering an interactive seminar series entitled Leading the Multi-Generational Workforce. This seminar series is intended for our community business leaders and professionals, as well as Millennials, to enhance their work environments. This 4-part series is a response to the needs voiced by our business community, but why would they engage in this conversation and why should they attend? In a recent research study conducted by Deloitte, “During the next year, if given the choice, one in four Millennials would quit his or her current employer to join a new organization or to do something different. That figure increases to 44 percent when the time frame is expanded to two years. By the end of 2020, two of every three respondents hope to have moved on, while only 16 percent of Millennials see themselves with their current employers a decade from now.” This trend is vastly different from the Baby Boomer generation where, according to a poll conducted by Fortune, 40 percent of Boomers stayed with an employer for 20 years.

Please join us for this professional development series as we look at how these generations are redefining the workplace and learn how your business and organization can create a culture that will attract the future workforce. BBB Accredited Businesses receive a 10% discount on registration fees. To learn more, visit bbbsc.org or uccs.edu/business/OPED.