How to recruit a multi-generational workforce and show that you really care about people all along their career life?
Workforce demographics are changing on a global scale. Younger, more diverse workers are coming of age and seeking to advance in their careers, while older workers are faced with retiring or staying on in their roles. Baby Boomers, Generation X and Gen Y will be in the workforce together for years to come, and companies are working to determine how to best recruit the top workers from each demographic.
A hot topic in recent years has been the apparently insurmountable differences between Gen Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers. Recruitment strategies have to be created in a way that’s sensitive to the different priorities, needs and desires of each age demographic that is being targeted. A truly successful recruiting methodology will incorporate all of these differences in various ways and at various times. But what are the most significant differences?
Gen Y, despite having a reputation for being self-centred, are actually more likely than other generations to care about company ethics and volunteer policies when making a decision. For example, an estimated 55% of Gen Y says a company’s volunteer policy affects whether they will accept a job. Members of Generation X tend to be focused on developing a stable career with a well-defined path through the organisation.
While many Baby Boomers are approaching and reaching retirement age, large numbers of this generation have a desire to stay active in the workforce – even in part-time or consultant-style roles to help maintain “organisation knowledge” and pass the torch to younger workers.
Recruiting strategies, social media communications, job descriptions and employer branding should reflect a combination of these different multi-generational attributes. This will allow the organisation to demonstrate a commitment to diverse hiring, as well as showcase an ability to provide a variety of opportunities for top talent that support life goals and needs.
Despite the differences between members of various generations, there are also many similarities recruiters can utilize to highlight points of connection and make it easier to create messaging that will be effective across generational lines.
Strong recruiting strategies will strike a balance between similarities and differences to highlight an employer brand that focuses on a harmonious and productive working environment. Many of the similarities between generations centre on interpersonal relationships. Gen Y and Baby Boomers both place a lot of emphasis on mentoring relationships; Baby Boomers know they have a lot to offer, and 75% of Gen Y are interested in having a mentor.
Gen Y and Generation Xers want to be recognized for their passions and talents. A Generation Xer might prefer a raise and a Millennial might want a more non-traditional type of recognition.
Knowing how to position each message so that it finds the right target demographic is essential for building your employer brand, attracting top talent, and ensuring that your recruiting strategies are innovative and cost-effective. Recognizing where your target demographics are likely to look for jobs is an essential part of designing a recruitment message.
Baby Boomers are more likely to use traditional job boards to search for an open role, and will probably look more closely at health care and other traditional benefits offerings than younger workers. Jobs posted on such sites should be structured to capture the attention and interest of that audience. Gen Y tends to prefer niche job boards that focus on a specific field, position or industry.
While Gen Y are the most likely to interact with a company’s social media account, ask a question, leave a comment or like a post, expect Gen Y, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers alike to be looking. A blend of interesting and engaging content, as well as job posts tailored to generational similarities and differences will help fill your pipeline with talent.
When it comes to mobile devices, Gen Y leads the pack. They are the most likely to be looking for a position on a mobile device, and the most likely to leave a site that isn’t mobile optimized, with no intention of returning. Opt-in text message job alerts will appeal to on-the-go candidates, and career sites and applications that function across devices and operating systems will attract top talent.
A balancing act
A successful recruitment strategy performs a balancing act, advertising a company’s strengths to each prospective candidate demographic. While Gen Y, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers have a variety of different interests and needs, a strong employer brand is critical to ensuring the right message gets to the right candidate. Careful attention to how and where you advertise open positions will help your organisation attract top talent and stay ahead of your competition.
Network for Good, 2014 Millennial Impact Report.
Urban Bound, Understanding the Millennial Mindset, 2015.