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Three Ways to Better Manage the Multigenerational Workforce

Annie Gudorf

Employee longevity is at an all-time high. As a result, three generations of employees are now working alongside one another, each generation bringing its own communication and workstyle to creative agencies.

Given the fast-paced nature of the PR industry, each generation has found an agile workstyle that allows for quickly switching from task to task. But with so many types of workflows at odds with one another, managers are falling short of meeting each group’s collaboration and cultural expectations. What’s more, failure to meet these needs results in inefficient employees and high turnover. This makes accommodating various workstyles increasingly important for PR managers.

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With the right strategies and tools in place, PR managers can quickly learn to navigate the challenges brought on by this triple-generation workforce. Here are three ways we at Walker Sands have been able to meet the needs of our multigenerational workforce:

  1. Embrace new communication platforms. From grabbing coffee to holding in-person meetings, Gen X employees (born between 1965 and 1984) want to develop a personal relationship with their employees. While these methods of communication will prove effective, Millennials and Gen Z'ers are finding that collaboration solutions and video conferencing (i.e. Slack, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.) are more cohesive with their workflows because they allow for quicker response time and more frequent feedback. Our managers have found it helpful to ask employees to share their preferred methods of communication to most efficiently and effectively communicate amongst their team.
  2. Allow for flexible workdays. Across generations, many employees will work long hours between Monday through Friday while others prefer a greater work-life balance throughout the week – even if it means working a few odd hours on the weekends. Inability to accommodate these various workdays could result in the loss of your best employees, given that almost half of all professionals have left a job, or considered leaving one, because it lacked flexibility. By accommodating different workstyles with a flexible work policy, we’re able to retain top talent at Walker Sands. If an employee works six hours one day, they have the freedom to pick up extra hours when and where they can.
  3. Create a space for knowledge-sharing. Despite its challenges, teams of multi-generation employees provide its members with invaluable opportunities to learn from one another. At Walker Sands, we hold weekly Lunch & Learns where junior, mid-level and senior employees come together for knowledge-sharing sessions. Session topics range from Google Sheets 101 to how one can successfully move off their parents’ insurance. No matter your age, every employee has a something others can learn from.

Businesses, especially those in technology, need to be adaptable to a variety of work styles in order to retain top creative talent. By adopting new communication platforms, allowing for a flexible workflow and creating a knowledge-sharing space, organizations can overcome the challenges brought on by this triple-generational workforce.

To learn more about our multigenerational team that make up our powerhouse workforce, click here for our PR team and here for digital.

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