This is the first time in history that there are five generations at work together, and the business implications of such a diverse workforce working side by side cannot be overestimated.
Recently, 60 percent of CEOs surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers indicated that the multigenerational workforce will in fact “transform” business in the near future. For businesses prepared to manage an increasingly diverse workforce, this transformation can be productive — and profitable. As workforce demographics shift and your employee makeup becomes more varied and complex, a long-term human capital management (HCM) plan as part of your human resources strategy is more essential than ever.
This HR trend demands consideration. Think about it: By 2025, Millennials — those born between 1981 and 2000 — will account for 75 percent of the global workforce. Today, by comparison, Millennials represent only about 34 percent of the workforce. Organizations must be ready for big changes to come — changes that include how to attract, hire, incentivize, and retain employees, as well as how to measure and reward productivity, manage absence, and create a culture that resonates with this new generation of workers. Without a doubt, HR professionals will be key players in readying your organization for these seismic shifts within your greatest asset — your workforce.
HR's role in managing many generations
As the oldest order of employees — who are characterized by a strong sense of loyalty, conformity, and responsibility — completes its retirement and Baby Boomers climb higher on their career ladders, substantial management shifts will be necessary. Baby Boomers, for example, tend to operate from a “live to work” ethos, putting in long hours and struggling to achieve the work/life balance that’s so important to the Gen Xers and Millennials below them. With so many differing work styles, professional values, and personal goals to juggle, businesses and HR professionals in particular will be challenged to attract, retain, and maximize a diverse workforce.
Many HR leaders have already recognized the importance of instituting a human capital management plan today to secure tomorrow’s business success. According to a recent Workplace Forecast by the Society for Human Resources Management, 52 percent of leaders say that developing the next generation of corporate leaders will be among their greatest challenges as Baby Boomers exit the workforce in large numbers. This imminent skills gap is just one reason to put a human capital management plan in place now. HR professionals must consider how to attract and retain top talent from an increasingly mobile and global candidate pool.