We Need To Become An Employer Of Choice
Bringing generations in our workforce together. As leaders in hospitality, we have today a challenge in how engaging and bringing all the different generations in our workforce together.
When I started my career, my organization was hosting regular team-building exercises centered on engaging multiple generations at work to bring employees together across departments. Managing across generations can be as simple as bringing in free coffee for employees once a month or creating projects with teams of people possessing various levels of expertise. An understanding and accommodating workplace will lead to fewer misunderstandings and a more productive workforce as they are engaged and energized.
Years of experience taught me that this is one of the most challenging tasks we need to manage today. Times changed in hospitality and a general manager needs to manage guests, shareholders, owners, managing companies CEOs, COO’s and VP’s and other corporate gurus and allows very little time in engaging employees.
Resulting in that the workforce today is not engaged, and studies showed that only three out of ten employees in hospitality are engaged. (ADP Research Institute)
This results annually in Trillian of lost dollars or EURO in productivity. The pandemic made it even more challenging to manage revenue streams, cost management, efficiency, and gross operating profits. (Gallup’s Workplace)
Alone we can’t solve it, we need our employees and partners
All For One and One For All.
Where do we start, where do we set our priorities to solve all the fires we need to fight?
What are the needs and differences of our employees and partners? How can we communicate, engage, and extract the maximum potential of our employees? Who are the best performing and engaged team members and who needs more attention?
Before concluding how hospitality leaders can bridge generational gaps we need to understand and look at the root challenges and differences of:
- The five generations in today’s workplace.
- Characterize each generation in detail.
- What attracts each generation.
- The ideal workplace environment for each generation.
- How to manage each generation.
- What benefit is each generation is looking for?
Let’s review the key five generations in today’s workplace!
There are many benefits of a multigenerational workforce, which also includes different nationalities. Each generation can have varied strengths and concerns, and differences in styles and expectations can and will naturally sometimes create tension.
Understanding and studying the work habits or lifestyle habits of each generation and proactively anticipating their needs can help companies devise effective human capital and guest management strategies.
We are looking at the five generations known as:
- Generation Z (1997–2012)
- Millennials (1981–1996)
- Generation Xers (1965–1980)
- Baby boomers (1946–1964)
- Silent generation (born between 1928 and 1945)
What characterizes each generation?
Members of Generation Z were born between 1997 and 2012. Raised as digital natives, they view smartphones and other devices as essential. Compared to previous generations, they can be more focused on the essence of a person — funny, witty, smart — versus issues like race or ethnicity, due in large part to how technology has shaped their relationships. They like visual communications and are very fast in extracting information from their devices.
Members of Millennials the largest generation in the current workforce, Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. Many started working during a recession, which has greatly affected how they view their long-term careers. They grew up as the internet revolutionized society, and they’re more comfortable communicating digitally than previous generations. More than 9 out of 10 Millennials own smartphones, and they tend to adopt new social media platforms more quickly than older generations. In the workplace, members of this generation may prefer to send instant messages, email, or texts rather than walk across the room to chat with someone, if only for efficiency purposes.
Members of Generation X squeeze between the baby boomers and Millennials, Gen Xers are shaped by the evolution of personal computers. This generation, born between 1965 and 1980, is generally more educated than previous generations. Viewed as self-reliant and hardworking, Gen Xers are often viewed as fiscally responsible.
Members of Generation Baby Boomers were born after World War II, through 1964, baby boomers have long been known for their strong work ethic and goal-centric tendencies. They tend to be hardworking and value face-to-face interaction. They didn’t grow up using computers, although they will use technology for job-related functions.
Members of the Silent Generation are the oldest generation currently in the workforce is the silent generation, born between 1928 and 1945. They grew up without today’s technology and many other modern conveniences younger generations take for granted. Many members of this generation have overcome adverse economic challenging conditions in their lifetimes and thus have established diligent financial habits. They’re hard workers with strong core values.
There are fundamental different characteristics between generations and hospitality leaders need to find ways and have a strategy how to attract and retain all these different characteristics in their workforce. Also, we need to find ways how to reach and engage with them and how to extract the best potential. Once we understand what is attracting them, we can use this knowledge to find new ways how to engage with guests of different generations.
What attracts each generation?
Members of Generation Z when attracting and managing in the workplace, employers need to build a strong brand across digital platforms. Employees from this generation often turn to the internet and social media when researching potential employers. Once hired, generation Z may be more actively engaged in their jobs when they’re provided access to cutting-edge technology. They are eager to start their careers and tend to prioritize salary over benefits.
Members of Generation Millennial may often expect a technology-driven application process, including mobile-optimized applicant tracking systems, applications that integrate with LinkedIn and learning about career opportunities through social recruiting. Retention efforts should focus on building a skill-structured training program that addresses their desire for leadership training, skills development, and career progression.
Members of Generation Gen X employees are comfortable using technology and online recruitment and hiring tools, but they’re also comfortable with face-to-face interactions.
Members of Generation Baby Boomers are older employees who may be more comfortable with traditional recruiting processes that include creating formal resumes and holding face-to-face interviews. They may be more likely to find jobs through advertisements, word of mouth, and referrals. Retention strategies that work well for this generation focus on recognizing them for achievements through public ceremonies or other awards they can share with family, friends, and coworkers.
Members of the Silent Generation are stressing fundamentals can help companies attract and retain employees from this generation. They want to feel as though they’re paid fairly for a job well done.
What are the ideal workplace environment expectations for our workforce?
Members of Generation Z, after watching their parents deal with the effects of the 2007–2008 financial crisis and experience the current pandemic, job security is a priority for Generation Z. They look for somewhat stable opportunities, and they intend to stay with the same company for two to four years before moving on. But at work, they prefer some flexibility in the way they accomplish tasks and the opportunity to add input on process improvements. They may also prefer flexible work hours and will seek out environments that prioritize social responsibility and diversity.
Members of Generation Millennial ideal workplace environment will flourish, companies should lean into the desire for a deeper purpose. Help them understand your company’s mission and how it helps make people’s lives, industries, or the world at large a better place. Allow them to work remotely if their job responsibilities can be completed outside the office.
Members of Generation Gen X while at work, members of this generation may prefer an environment with a more individual emphasis. They may prefer the flexibility to manage their workload as well as greater physical and psychological space.
Members of Generation Baby Boomers aren’t usually looking to job-hop, so job security is appealing to them. They may appreciate a more formalized, structured environment than younger generations would. Growing up without digital communication means they’re more amenable to interaction in group meetings.
Members of Generation Silent although members of this generation appreciate the advanced technology used today, may not be as familiar with it or comfortable using it. Providing offline options to complete tasks can help create a positive work environment for older employees. Like the baby-boom generation, they value personal interactions and can be effective when given the opportunity to meet face-to-face.
With so many different expectations how can someone manage the workforce?
Members of Generation Z, want to be managed and to participate in highly collaborative management relationships. These young employees look to management to establish a strong overall mission and set an example to help them learn and grow. When developing management policies for this generation, companies should focus on attracting the right talent, investing in their development, and creating mentoring, coaching, and learning opportunities with senior staff.
Members of Generation Millennial care about performance quality and judge their managers by the content of their work. They, in turn, want to be judged not for their hours in the office, but for their results. When communicating about work with Millennials, it’s best for managers to take a transparent and honest approach, making sure to invite questions from employees.
Members of Generation Gen X typically prefer less supervision and greater autonomy when it comes to completing job responsibilities. They can be comfortable using various forms of communication, both online and in person. Gen Xers are well into their careers and have an experience that should be valued by managers. Members of this generation may have also settled into family life and desire a more flexible schedule that allows them to achieve a healthy work/life balance.
Members of Generation Baby Boomers are often hard-working and want to be recognized for their skills. They are often a great source of knowledge about their industry and appreciate the chance to share their expertise. Managers should look to leverage their skills and encourage them to mentor younger employees.
Members of Generation Silent Generation want to be managed in-person discussions with these employees can help clarify goals and allow managers to provide feedback. Encouraging them to share their knowledge and expertise can benefit the entire workforce.
What benefit everyone is looking for?
Members of Generation Z, look at workplace flexibility as the most sought-after benefit for employees in this age group — more than health care or training and development. Other benefits priorities are assistance with any debt like a student, competitive salaries, financial incentives (raises after completing a project), tuition reimbursement, formal training opportunities.
Members of Generation Millennial value career development opportunities as well as benefits that prioritize a work/life balance. Some examples are career development programs, monetary gifts, opportunities to give back, on-site daycare, mortgage services.
Members of Generation Gen X who want to take care of their families and loved ones may be particularly concerned with healthcare coverage, flexible workforce arrangements, on-site daycare, and other perks that support a work & life balance. Additionally, this generation appreciates monetary benefits such as monetary gifts, stock options, gift cards, tuition reimbursement, mortgage services.
Members of Generation Baby Boomers as many of this generation who are nearing retirement, appreciate flexible work policies. Many experienced staff members will consider staying on the job longer if they’re offered reduced schedules, the option of working from home, or alternate hours. Health care and retirement benefits have been taken care of.
Members of Generation Silent may be focused on healthcare and retirement benefits. They may be working to build up a pension from long-term employment. They may also appreciate flexible work policies, including paid time off, as they transition to full retirement.
How do we bridge the generational gaps in the hospitality workplace?
Today’s multigenerational workforce offers significant benefits to employers in terms of a range of experience and creative problem-solving skills. Tailoring a workplace to accommodate the characteristics of different generations can help ensure that everyone is able to reach their full potential.
When dealing with a multigenerational workforce, it’s important to be sensitive to the various work styles and communicate through a variety of channels. Younger employees may prefer to receive information digitally, while employees from earlier generations may be accustomed to printed materials and have more immediate access to management to answer their questions. Recruitment and retention strategies should be established across a variety of channels, and employees should be offered a range of benefits choices.
Incorporate senior staff’s knowledge into training and aim to leverage the knowledge of senior staff members and older generations to help train and lead younger generations in the workforce. This can be accomplished by developing mentoring and coaching programs to pass down information and best practices. Encouraging informal mentoring while on the job can also be rewarding for both experienced and less-experienced employees.
Understanding which employee benefits to offer different generations and employees in different phases of their lives may be focused on different areas of their compensation and benefits packages. Younger employees may be focused on salary, tuition reimbursement, and formal training opportunities. Employees with young families may be particularly concerned with healthcare coverage, flexible workforce arrangements, and work/life balance. Tenured employees may be focused on healthcare and retirement benefits.
These are generalizations, but they underscore the reality that different issues may be priorities at different stages of life. This is a big task and hospitality leaders must have a close look with their teams to find innovative solutions to cater to all generations.
But how can we do this, no one has the time or manpower to address all these root problems hospitality is today facing?
This requires three major changes which need to be addressed urgently to have a chance to stay competitive.
- The first is being fully aware of the need for a range of different benefits to accommodate employees’ changing and evolving priorities.
- The second is understanding the need to potentially highlight benefits to prospective employees at different stages.
- The third Improving dramatically the way how we as leaders and managers engage with our workforce and appreciate their hard work.
Tomorrow, is no longer like today!
We need to start to think differently, challenge ourselves to an exponential mindset, to a basic attitude that leaves the linear behind.
We need to use technology to achieve a cost-efficient winning opportunity for all generations.
If we do not find ways that allow us to engage with all generations in our workforce and change the sustainable heart, mind, and behavior of employees we will fail. We need to give the tools for success and communication in everyone’s hands. This will then help us find new revenue streams, build sustainable profitability, optimize people management, strengthen employee engagement, boost guest satisfaction, raise operational efficiency, improve cost management, enhance productivity, and protect the environment.
Last but not least, it will help us to become an employer of choice.
Connected worker platforms have been implemented in many different businesses very successfully, hospitality is just starting, and today still light years behind.
The good news is there are some incredible technology platforms out there which been developed already for hospitality. They are very cost-efficient, powerful, and cool and cater to every generation in our workforce. This will bring the urgent needed innovative sustainable transformation; the way hospitality operates and engages with its workforce and brings a huge needed competitive advantage.
And let’s not forget Generation Alpha which everyone is born between 2011 and 2025 will soon hopefully join the hospitality workforce too and they will for sure demand a worker’s platform.
Let’s get started!
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