Transcending the Generational Divide at Work: Perennials to Steer the Ship
Employing and engaging diverse employees has always been a tricky task for organizations. While many of them have figured out the need and ways to foster their diverse workforce’s inclusivity in terms of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, engaging employees of various generations is still treated stereotypically.
Organizations have heavily relied on the age cohorts to differentiate talent strategies, especially in the talent acquisition, learning and career development domains of HRM. However, the rapid evolution of technology and its increased adoption by the older generations– who were previously considered as the ‘sunset club’ — has led to a drastic disruption in the conventional workforce segmentation.
“Perennials” as described by Gina Pell, who first coined the term, refers to “an ever-blooming group of people of all ages, stripes, and types who transcend stereotypes and make connections with each other and the world around them.” The concept of Perennials or the post-generational workforce surpasses all the myths of ageism at work and incredibly combine the characteristics of the active five generations in today’s workforce and the Gen-Z poised to enter, diminishing the relevance of the so-called ‘generation gap’. In short, Perennials are the people who choose to stay relevant and challenge the boundaries of generations by upholding the following qualities:
Growth mindset: They are intellectually curious, creative, agile, passionate and growth-oriented, which were previously assumed as the hallmarks of Millennials (Gen- Y) and Gen- Z. Interestingly, they also turn out to be tech-savvy by adopting and efficiently using new-age technologies.
Commitment driven: They also encompass the best of the boomer (Gen X) traits being hard-working, value-oriented, collaborative, accountable, and reliant to their organizations and society at large.
Long-term vision: Perennials are also known for their big picture thinking and strategic orientation as they tend to identify and foresee patterns, trends, and opportunities, making them the best leaders.
While it may seem like the perennials are hard to spot, a recent survey by Deloitte reports the shrinking gap in generational differences related to work and career. An attribute level comparison showed less than 10% difference in individuals’ expectations in terms of flexibility at work, job security, and career advancement over a period. This indicates the aspiration of people, irrespective of the generations, to thrive in their careers and rise upto the demands of today’s organizations’ constantly evolving dynamics. Thus, it is high time for the HR strategists to go beyond the customary approach that restricts people from entering and excelling in jobs based on the generations that they belong to. Moreover, a post-generational approach helps identify the workforce potential in a more unprejudiced manner, which enables them to design the most appropriate reskilling programs. Equipping employees across generations with the right skills can uncover immense talent that helps them outshine their traditional job roles and explore possibilities of innovatively contributing to their work.
Many forward-looking organizations are now relying on workforce data to crack the puzzle of productivity, retention, and engagement by focusing on individual behavior, attitudes, and values rather than the age cohorts. Especially, during these adverse times, post – generational employees can benefit from this personalization by having enhanced meaningfulness at work, while the organizations gain advantage from these Perennials who bring in a diverse set of skills and experience that align to its larger purpose.
Draup for Talent platform serves as a unique workforce analytics tool by efficiently combining the enormous potential of big data and tailor-made behavioral models. It serves as a one-stop-shop for the Talent strategists that aids in identifying the right talents and better understanding their employees’ behavioral patterns and other career-related attributes. This helps make better sense of the prospective challenges in productivity, retention, and engagement and addresses them by adopting a more holistic approach.