Our research found that just over half (52%) of employers do not have any generation specific talent management strategies in place. Only 3% of organisations surveyed have strategies in place for all four generations.
It is clear that engagement and management strategies that worked for say, the Traditionalist generation (3% of the workforce and soon to become insignificant), will have to be rewritten when it comes to Millennials. While Gen X is currently the largest generation of active workers, the Millennial generation or Generation Y is the largest to emerge since the Baby Boomers, and as this group quickly grows as a proportion of the workforce, employers will need to make major adjustments in their strategies.
Less than half (48%) agree that age has an impact on the needs of the workforce, but employers are currently making some generational considerations.
Despite, or perhaps because of the fact that only 48% of employers agree that age has an impact on the needs of the workforce, the majority of employers believe they are catering well for the needs of their multigenerational workforce.
What do the generations want?
In our research, we asked Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers what talent management strategies work for them. All four generations rate flexible work conditions as the most successful strategy, with Millennials rating it twice as effective as any other strategy. However, only 12% of Millennials, 21% of Gen X’s and 27% of Baby Boomers give their employers good marks in this area.
Employers that have talent management strategies in place for Millennials focus on employee development, regular goal setting and continuous review of talent.
Millennials themselves are telling a very different story, rating flexible work conditions as twice as effective as any other strategy. This supports findings in a 2013 study by Millennial Branding which found 45% of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay
After flexible work conditions, Millennials value employee-focused development and regular goal setting. This likely reflects the need of the Millennials to seek collaboration and feedback instead of being told what to do.
Of note, 17% of employers believe that social media is an effective strategy to manage Millennials, only 1% of Millennials saw this as effective in practice.
Despite the tremendous growth of social media, it seems leaders are not convinced of its business value. Oxford Economics Digital Megatrends 2015: The role of technology in the new normal market found that while social media has become a cultural phenomenon, one fifth of business leaders are not using social media in the workplace at all and one third consider social media irrelevant to their business. Among sceptics, the concerns centre on a loss of control over messaging and difficulty measuring return on investment.
*The terms Millennial and Generation Y are increasingly used interchangeably in literature. For the purposes of this research, the definitions used in Mercer, 2014 Making Accountability Work! Effective Employer Strategies in a Multigenerational Age have been utilised.
Organisations with Gen X specific talent management strategies identified provision of flexible work conditions as the most widely used strategy. This is also the strategy most likely to be considered successful by both employers and Gen X themselves (24%).
Employers have underestimated the importance to Gen X of training to keep up with the times, ranked equal second in importance to Gen X. Similar to Millennials and Gen Y, very few Gen X (1%) see Social Media as effective in practice.
Baby Boomers and Traditionalists
Employers are more in step with Baby Boomers and Traditionalists – they focus on flexible work conditions and environments and regular goal setting, the first two of which are also ranked most successful by employees. However, employers assume regular goal setting is far more successful than it is (68% cf. 8% employees).
* Today’s workforce is more dynamic and more demanding than ever. Data is becoming a valuable currency. Employees are demanding more flexible, dynamic and diverse work arrangements. A multigenerational workforce – four generations working side by side - breakneck technological advances and increasing globalisation are forcing the business world to re-think previously successful people strategies.
This whitepaper explores emerging trends in talent management and examines how we are managing talent in an environment increasingly characterised by change.
For Talent Management – the next wavewe surveyed 233 senior managers, leaders and specialists and 287 employees across Australia and New Zealand to gain their insights into talent management.