Multi-generational workforce aids business
New research by Randstad New Zealand reveals that businesses who embrace age diversity are more agile when it comes to problem solving, creativity and idea generation.
With the NZ Government predicting that a quarter of New Zealand's workforce will be aged 55 or older by 2020 it seems Kiwis are more than willing to embrace age diversity at work and New Zealand businesses are reaping the rewards.
In fact, according to Randstad New Zealand's latest Workmonitor findings, 88 per cent of Kiwis preferring working as part of a multi-generational team (i.e. 10-15 years difference in age). Not only that, 83 per cent of us believe that companies with age-diverse workforces are better placed to come up with innovative ideas and solutions. So, does age no longer matter in the workplace?
Nan Dow, Executive Practice Director of RiseSmart Australia and New Zealand - a Randstad company, said that given we are working in a more complex workplace environment, with many businesses managing up to five generations of workers, there's much to be gained by striving for a workplace culture that brings out the best across generations.
"These generational differences are quite literally the ‘future of work' and having such a rich and diverse talent pool can be a huge advantage for businesses. In order to create a positive culture that gets work done, businesses need to encourage employees to look beyond preconceived stereotypes and bias."
While most industries are on board with age diversity at work, the report revealed that some sectors are well ahead of the ‘curve' when it came to embracing a multi-generational workplace. Right now, the industry sectors leading the age-diversity charge are ‘general business' (95 per cent) followed by education (95 per cent) and construction (92 per cent).
Dow continues, "Findings showed that 85 per cent of Kiwis believe that collaboration between different generations is mutually beneficial. Industries and customers are diverse, so having an employee base that reflects the end customer and can relate to their needs is obviously a competitive advantage to any business."
However, when it came to communication among age diverse workers, the main difference when working in a multi-generational workplace was communication styles.
Randstad New Zealand Country Director Katherine Swan comments, "Our study found that 75 percent of Kiwis believe the way we communicate is one of the biggest differences within multi-generational workforces. An example of where we see this is during the recruitment process. Most people forget their target audience. Different demographics should be aware of contrasting communications styles that are expected and appropriate within the workplace, this includes different formats, media, regularity of communications and appropriate terminology."
Interestingly, it was Millennials (Kiwis aged 18-34) who struggled most, with 38 per cent finding it difficult to communicate with coworkers not from their generation, compared to their older counterparts with only 13 per cent of Generation X and Baby Boomers (Kiwis, aged 45-67), citing the same concerns.
Source: Friday Offcuts
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