Oh, people just love to compare these two generations, don't they? Perhaps it's because they're so strikingly different? Or maybe it's the fact that they're the two most influential generations currently in the workforce? It's important to remember the gap isn't just about age, it's about difference in lifestyle, beliefs and how work gets done.
The way each generation views brands and forms opinions about companies also varies. It partly has to do with how these groups consume media, how they use technology, and how they interact with their work environment.
If your goal is to attract both groups to your co-working space or organization, your company culture is going to have to sing two different tunes. Here's how to adapt your workspace to appeal to millennials without ignoring boomers.
Why Does It Matter?
We've been flooded with articles about millennials for the past few years, and with good reason. They now make up 50% of the workforce, and their influence only continues to increase as they graduate and begin their careers. However, it appears boomers aren't going anywhere either. A recent report states that more than 60% of boomers plan to work at least part-time well into retirement. Creating an appealing culture that satisfies the needs for these two strikingly different generations isn't going away any time soon.
Provide Activity-Based Workspaces
This is probably the most difficult tip to pull of, considering it could involve completely rearranging your workplace. But offering multiple spaces for completing different types of work is proving to be more important than ever. While boomers often prefer the privacy and intimate space that a cubicle offers, millennials often feel confined and even stifled in such an environment. Many companies have found that an open office is the answer, but that isn't always the best fix. Completely open offices bring their own set of challenges, including uncomfortable noise levels and distractions if not executed properly.
What successful companies have found is that there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to what constitutes an effective workspace. Certain roles require quiet spaces for critical thinking while others, like marketing, are better suited in collaboration-friendly areas. If you run a coworking space, consider offering multiple types of plans for your members. Since boomers are more inclined to value a permanent space, allocating certain offices in your building that can be reserved or rented out on a continuous basis might fill their need for a space of their own. Millennials are much more likely to want to switch up their environment throughout the day, so offering open desks plus lounge areas may be the key to catering to both.
Post on Various Social Sites
Even though their tastes in social vary, with 25% of millennials ranking Instagram as their favorite site, while a whopping 90% of boomers noting Facebook is their avenue of choice. Both generations report they use social media to gather information on brands, restaurants, service providers, organizations and you guessed it, places to work. Be sure you're reaching both generations by having an active presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and any other social site you think would reach potential employees.
Include Multiple Avenues to Provide Feedback
Whether you run the facilities for a private company or a large coworking space, allowing your employees the opportunity to express their opinion should be at the top of your list. Be sure frequent surveys are given out so they can anonymously express any concerns or areas they feel need improvement.
Stop thinking boomers are afraid of tech, they're not. Boomers have the desire to embrace tech at work and want to improve their performance, but they also need to know how adopting new tools is going to make their job more efficient. Now your millennials, they're afraid of its absence. Almost 95 percent of them polled cited modern and up-to-date technology as one of the most important aspects of a workplace. Facilities should consider incorporating relevant tech where employees engage with each other and where they engage with the building itself. Basic items that you should consider offering to attract both millennial and baby boomer talent are:
- the ability to connect with teams while remote
- options to schedule reservations for when they're in the office
- communication options via internal sites like Slack
- avenues to report issues at work from a mobile device
Today's workplace can potentially house up to five generations, which makes it challenging to appeal everyone without stepping on any toes. While the above suggestions are based on current statistics, it's important to remember not to make assumptions about your employees. While the majority of each generation may behave a certain way and prefer specific work environments, there's always an exception to the rule. The best way to keep your workforce happy is to ask them what they want.