5 Tips to Manage A Multigenerational Workforce in Malaysia
Today’s workforce is more diverse than ever, with Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (aka Millennials) and, most recently, Generation Z co-existing in the same company. Managing employees from different generations can be a challenge - after all, each age group has their own lingo, cultural references, not to mention different drivers and motivators when it comes to how work is conducted.
With such a diverse bunch of people under one roof, it’s important to ensure everyone is looked after. While not wanting to stereotype each generation, they do have different and specific needs from their employers, and will respond differently to various motivating factors.
However, if successfully managed, a multigenerational workforce will not only give your company diversity in terms of age and skill sets, but it will also contribute to a melting pot of different viewpoints that will be useful in your business.
Here are tips on how to better manage multigenerational differences head on, using data and insights from our JobStreet Laws of Attraction (LOA) survey in Malaysia:
1. Recognise their differences and motivate accordingly
It’s simple really - if you know what candidates value most, you can provide them with the most competitive offer and engaging work environment. According to our LOA data, the top driver for Malaysian candidates is salary and compensation - but among the different generations, Millennials (17.3%) place the most importance on having a competitive salary, above Gen X (16.9%), Gen Z (14.2%) and Baby Boomers (13.2%). Baby Boomers and Gen X employees care more about job security than their younger counterparts, who instead value career development opportunities higher.
Obviously, what may appeal to a 20-year-old employee may not work with a 50-year-old employee, so understanding these key main drivers is imperative to formulating a compelling package to attract local talent.
2. Find the common ground
Sometimes, age is just a number. Despite being part of varying generations, colleagues will still find that they have a lot in common in terms of interests and hobbies. By encouraging employees to mingle across different age groups - and by hiring with diversity in mind in the first place - will find it breeds a strong company culture, inculcating healthier communication across teams.
In Malaysia, Baby Boomers value workplace culture the most, with 9.2% of candidates naming it as their top driver. Gen Z employees on the other hand, place more importance on having good colleagues, with 6.7% saying this is what attracts them to potential employers. Consider organising social activities where employees can mingle and bond, especially if you employ candidates at both ends of the generational spectrum.
3. Help candidates learn from each other
To promote team harmony and inclusion across generations, consider training and development schemes that encourage staff to learn from each other - whether it’s via a mentorship programme, or other skills-based and on-the-job training that requires collaboration and cross-learning.
According to JobStreet’s LOA survey, career development is ranked as the third top driver for candidates. Millennials place the most importance on having career development opportunities within a company, with 14.5% of candidates naming it as their top driver. In comparison, 14% of Gen Z employees say that career development is a top priority, whereas 12.6% of Gen X and 6.9% of Baby Boomers say that this is a main driver for them. By having training programmes, not only are you satisfying the desire of younger employees to learn more, but you can also potentially improve the quality of work from your staff.
4. Manage expectations around work-life balance
All work and no play can result in a professional burnout - so it is important for employers to recognise this and place adequate attention to prevent such a burnout from happening. In fact, employees across all four generations view companies that promote work-life balance as a top attraction. Gen X employees place slightly more importance on work-life balance than other generations, with 12.9% naming it as their top priority. Millennials are not far behind, with 12.8% saying it is their top driver, followed by Baby Boomers (12.5%) and Gen Z (12.4%).
A company that promotes work-life balance is not just about offering their employees adequate annual leave days. Employers should also listen to what their employees want that may differ from generation to generation. For example, a younger Gen Z or Gen Y employee may be more inclined to travel for work, but employees with families who value time at home more, such as the Gen X or Baby Boomers, may not be as keen.
5. Communication is key - no matter what generation your staff belong to
The most important point is to ensure all business communications are conducted effectively, giving every employee, regardless of age or experience, an equal voice and opportunity to question and learn. It is important to create an open door policy so managers can understand their team and accommodate their needs so they can produce better work results.
It may be difficult to manage a multigenerational workforce, but with these tips and insights you can better understand your employees and find ways to make your workplace a harmonious one.
For a more detailed overview of the top drivers of each generation, and the expectations of employees in each sector, visit our Laws of Attraction microsite.