Published: 25th April 2023
In some UK workplaces, you can now find four generations working side by side. With many people continuing to work into their 70s, some organisations have five different generations within their employment.
The main four generations are as follows:
Baby Boomers: born 1946 – 1964
Generation X: born 1965 – 1980
Millennials: born 1981 – 1996
Generation Z: born 1997 – 2012
Research suggests that each generation has varying work ethics and characteristics and expects something different from their employer.
The Generations Explored
Everyone is unique, and it’s vital to approach employees as individuals. However, research does show that there are commonly found traits within each generation.
The Baby Boomer generation has been in the workplace for over 50 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Many within this group turned 65 in 2011 but have chosen to remain in work. According to ONS data from April to June 2022, the number of people in work above 65 rose by a ‘record’ 173,000.
Self-sufficiency is a trait associated with Baby Boomers, yet insights suggest they’re less likely to embrace remote working, preferring to remain in the office.
When Baby Boomers do retire, it’s Generation X that’s predominantly filling their leadership roles.
“They [Gen Xers] thrive on diversity, challenge, responsibility, honesty, and having creative input. As an adaptable and fiercely independent generation, Gen Xers are more peer-oriented than previous generations striving hard for a balanced work and family life.” My Business
If workplace flexibility started with Gen X, then the importance of learning and development began with Millennials. Research has found that common traits among Millennials include being “professionally driven” (Indeed), having a passion for learning and appreciating various activities that allow for creativity and working as a team.
Millennials are also thought to have a strong need for their work to be meaningful, desiring more than monetary gain and prioritising organisations with strong social values.
In contrast to Millennials, Gen Z is found to be comprised of those who like to work individually. Whilst they appreciate face-to-face communication, they expect top tech to be available. Although some sources suggest Gen Z seek stability and are more risk-averse than Millennials, research indicates this generation would only stay in a role for around two years.
Millennials may have pushed the importance of social value, but Gen Z will continue to run with it, demanding a diverse workplace.
Bridging the Generational Gap
At Sodexo Engage, we encourage employers to avoid a one-fits-all approach. However, although not all employees will fit their generational definition, the above descriptions give employers an overview of the drivers, motivations, and career aspirations of the different generations within their organisation. Once you understand them, it makes bridging the gap easier to achieve.
From a cultural and workplace relationship perspective, mentoring is an effective way to share more experienced colleagues' knowledge and nurture cross-generational collaboration.
We’ve suggested that Baby Boomers are most likely to be in the office and that Gen Zers appreciate face-to-face communication. What better way to introduce your youngest recruits to your business than pairing them with your most experienced ones?
Creating these relationships early on is invaluable since it’s an opportunity for all parties to learn how to work collaboratively.
Cross-Generational Financial Employee Benefits
Finding employee benefits that will meet the needs of a diverse generational workforce and that stem across all areas of wellbeing: physical, mental, and financial, isn't as difficult as it may appear.
For this blog, we’ll cover how to offer financial wellbeing benefits that meet the needs of all employees and bridge the generational gap.
It would be best if you thought of your offering as being holistic - as a cycle.
This starts with financial education for those younger generations, less practised in managing their money. The next step is to support all employees with their current difficulties, which, as we frequently discuss, is stretching their salaries far enough during the cost-of-living crisis.
From here, the focus shifts to what is the future for the younger generations and the present for the older generations: saving and retirement planning.
From resources and advice to budgeting tools and apps, Sodexo Engage can support employers in their bid to help employees that need support managing their money – regardless of their age. Financial situations can change, and there may be occasions when even the seasoned saver may need some professional advice.
Providing financial education early will encourage good money management for those just joining the workplace or leaving university with debt.
It’s never been more important to help stretch your employees’ salaries. With the rising cost of living, many struggle to make ends meet and appreciate their employers' assistance in reducing their financial burden.
Our Household Support Card offers employees up to 15% cashback at over 80 participating retailers. Employers can add funds to the cards or leave that solely to their employees. Either way, by earning cashback when they make essential or special purchases, your employees can create a pot that they can use towards other expenses.
Saving for the Future
With our Help to Save Scheme, employers can deduct money from their employees’ monthly wages to be automatically paid into a savings account. This ensures that money is set aside each month before it reaches the employee’s bank account, guaranteeing they’ll become consistent savers and build a pot for the future.
Bridging the Generational Divide with Sodexo Engage
There’s much more to discuss on this subject, and not just from a social and workplace relationship perspective, which we touched on briefly with mentoring. Research also suggests that there are generational differences regarding physical wellbeing benefits. However, given the current climate of financial uncertainty impacting all generations, we’ve focused solely on financial wellbeing benefits on this occasion.
Request a call today to discover how Sodexo Engage can help you create a cross-generational employee wellbeing and benefits offering that will empower your people and boost your business.