Employer Brand

Employer brand team guide: How to attract and retain multiple generations in the workplace

October 2019 Written by Papirfly

Building a multi-generation workforce can be a powerful advantage for companies across the globe. But with different motivations, goals and expectations driving each generation, there’s mounting pressure and expansive ground to be covered by employer branding teams.

The only way to effectively recruit multiple generations is to have an in-depth understanding of who they are and how they differ in the first place. While the profiles and personas we outline below will help to guide your marketing and communication efforts, it’s always worth remembering that even if candidates fall into one of these categories, each person is an individual. It’s important not to generalise, alienate or make presumptions in your messaging, but instead use this insight as a steer to your various recruitment techniques.

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Above all else, your recruitment campaigns and materials should be an honest reflection of what candidates can expect from your brand, your company and their future if they join. No matter which generation you hope to recruit and retain, they will not only want to bring something to your company, but understand what you’re going to do to keep them there.

This is not just about attraction with things that can’t be followed through on; the brand ethos and values needs to run through everything from the job posting itself, the campaigns promoting it and when the successful candidate gets recruited. People want to know what was ‘sold’ to them is going to be consistent and is authentically carried through to the stage of them being an employee, and this extends across multiple generations in the workplace.

With over 10,000 people retiring every day, companies need to ensure their employer brand team can find creative ways to attract employees. Here we provide some guidance when it comes to recruiting the next generation and what you should be considering to reap the most returns for your efforts.

How to recruit Baby Boomers

(Born between 1946 and 1964)

Most articles you’ll typically read discussing baby boomers and recruitment techniques will be talking about ‘how to replace your workforce when baby boomers retire’. But if we’re going to accurately identify how to recruit multiple generations in the workplace, it’s important we’re thorough.

Besides, the assessment that baby boomers are on the way out is an oversimplification. Remember - there are over 14 million baby boomers in the UK currently. Recruiting this generation can provide a number of qualities to benefit your workforce, namely:

  • Experience
  • Leadership skills
  • Unique perspectives
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Stability
  • Credibility

So, how do you approach attracting employees in this bracket? Well, elements you should incorporate into your recruitment packages for baby boomers include:

Structure and direction

As a general rule, baby boomers will not shy away from speaking their mind on ways a company can improve structurally. They have likely experienced numerous work environments and can offer valuable insight into the best ways to work they’ve encountered. As such, your recruitment techniques should illustrate that you prioritise two-way communication, and their ideas will be taken on-board - perhaps offer opportunities to mentor your younger members of staff as well.

Flexible hours

With 49% of baby boomers dissatisfied with their work-life balance, being able to sell your recruitment on a more flexible timetable will appeal to candidates of this generation. While personalities in this group remain driven, in their later life they will typically tend to prioritise time outside of work. Presenting that as something your brand prioritises will help you stand out over your competitors, either through flexible hours or part-time opportunities.

Stability in the workplace

Baby boomers are especially brand-loyal and team-oriented, and are therefore less likely to move on compared to their younger counterparts. So, if you can present through your recruitment process that your company is moving in a positive direction and you create a positive atmosphere where employees feel motivated and respected, you’ll appeal to this generation’s desire for stability.

Post-work incentives

Money may not the be-all-end-all for baby boomers that it is for the younger generations. Often they are looking for a new experience that they’ll enjoy, and will set them up for a comfortable retirement down the line. Being able to offer good incentives and training opportunities so they can continue to learn and feel wanted could prove more effective in your recruitment strategies than prioritising the salary package.

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How to recruit Generation X

(Born between 1965 and 1976)

Offering a high level of experience and expertise, Generation X candidates remain a firm focus for organisations, especially those seeking managerial experience. Among the multiple generations in the workplace, Generation X will often carry the independence, self-reliance and critical thinking necessary to confidently push a company’s trajectory, as well as provide much-needed guidance to the younger recruits in your workforce.

An important note here is, while the online knowledge of baby boomers is often wildly under-appreciated, with 76% of Generation X using online platforms as their first port of call for finding job opportunities, you’ll need to adapt what channels you use to communicate with this group.

With useful abilities like adaptability, problem-solving and leadership available to support your team, how can you convince Generation X talent to join your ranks?

Emphasise a work-life balance

Among all workplace perks, many consider flexibility as the most highly-valued among Generation X. Employees at this stage in life will likely need to balance multiple professional and personal responsibilities. It is no surprise that nearly half of all freelancers in the UK are in this age bracket. Demonstrating that you can provide them this balance through remote working or other flexible incentives, you are in a better position to recruit and retain these team members.

Have a clear direction, but be open to change

This generation not only wants to know where you are now, but where you’re going and how you’re planning to get there. They are wilier and more sceptical than the more idealistic later generations, so you need to be able to demonstrate the path your company is on to convince these recruits to get on board. But, make sure these don’t come across as too rigid - Generation X workers will want to feel they can contribute and suggest changes in the pursuit of your company’s overarching objectives.

Offer growth and learning opportunities

From internal training on key skills to education funding, being able to put these front and centre of your recruitment techniques will help you stand out to these employees, who are often driven to learn as much as they can. They want to know how you will support them on their career path, and reassurance they can achieve their personal aims as part of your organisation. Convince them of this and you could be onto a winner.

Recognise and reward results

Generation X workers are incredibly result-driven and place importance on efficiency. Highlighting your reward programmes and how you celebrate achievements will likely go down well in attracting employees of this generation. All generations like to receive incentives to do well, but this is particularly important to more experienced workers looking to boost their own CVs and climb the ladder.

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How to recruit Millennials / Gen Y

(Born between 1977 and 1997)

Of the multiple generations in your workforce, it’s arguable none have been written about more than Millennials, both in a positive and negative light. It’s easy to fall into traps when talking about recruiting Millennials over their naivety or lack of experience in comparison to the older generations we’ve spoken on. But this is far from the reality.

Tech-savvy, achievement-oriented and with a powerful desire to learn, recruiting Gen Y candidates requires a lot more thought and consideration. They expect a lot from brands, but if you deliver on these, you can recruit and retain team members that will carry your company forward for years or even decades.

So, what do Millennials in the workplace look for in an employer?

Encourage diversity and collaboration

Millennials in the workplace tend to place more emphasis on a brand’s values and identity than those in the older generations. Present through your recruitment techniques that you place a firm emphasis on diversity and equality, and that recruits will be part of a collaborative, motivated team that will fulfil their desire to learn and grow. That will speak to them in a far stronger way than salary rates and other traditional incentives.

Concentrate on the here and now

While Generation X workers place a focus on where your company is going, Millennials tend to be only interested in the present day. That’s due to a desire not to be tied down immediately - presenting your 10-year plans as part of your recruitment techniques could scare them off! Instead focus on work-life balance, skills and experience they can gain with your company in the first years with the company to pique their interest.

Present flexible work arrangements

However, like Generation X workers, recruiting Gen Y requires a focus on flexible working hours and conditions. It is of course important to maintain traditional financially-driven perks and benefits, but Millennials’ greater familiarity with technological innovations means that they are more likely to demand remote working opportunities. Your recruiting techniques should illustrate the overall experience your workplace will offer them, beyond the nuts and bolts of the role itself.

Highlight your causes

Finally, it is no secret that Millennials place a much higher value on a potential employer’s CSR values. When they think perks, they consider employee wellness plans, company charity initiatives, social outings, environmental impact and similar aspects. Appealing to these elements of your brand identity in your recruitment materials gives you a far greater chance of engaging with this generation.

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How to recruit Gen Z

(Born after 1997)

The newest of the multiple generations active in the workplace, recruiting Gen Z workers to your team is something all organisations will need to start prioritising.

This generation is as digitally-driven as it gets - it is the first generation that can’t remember life before the Internet was widely available. As such, they are hypervisual, resilient and less entitled than prior generations. They find it more difficult to see the distinctions between the digital and “real” world, and subsequently between work and home.

As this bracket encompasses a big part in the future workforces of all companies, how do you go about recruiting Gen Z?

Highlight your meaningful work

Generation Z carry a powerful, impressive work ethic, and want to know that the work that they’ll do as part of your team is both rewarding and meaningful. Many Gen Z workers would be interested in taking on multiple roles under their employment, due to their desire to learn and grow quickly. Focusing on the ways they will be challenged and how their work makes a difference will be a strong motivator for joining your team.

Present employee experiences

Like Millennials, recruiting Gen Z workers requires you to emphasise perks beyond the traditional workplace incentives. Their demand for a more custom, personalised candidate experience and interest in a brand’s social responsibilities need to be considered as part of your recruitment process, so you can connect with them on a deeper level than simply financial. An inclusive atmosphere is also essential to promote.

Offer training opportunities

Robust professional development opportunities are essential to Gen Z. They are the YouTube generation - they are always looking for ways to feed their craving for on-demand learning. Being able to demonstrate your CPD processes and perks like education-based reimbursements will set your brand above your competitors, so they can fulfil their desire to always learn and grow as part of a workforce.

Focus on flexible working

For Gen Z, the traditional borders between work and home don’t apply as they have in the past. Today, the next generation of recruits are elevating flexibility over stability in their priority list, and your recruitment techniques need to demonstrate that to meet their goals. Being digital natives with a strong appreciation of remote working, this is something that will encourage them to align with your organisation.

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Attracting multiple generations to your workplace

Hopefully this has offered you a useful breakdown of the different generations of workers currently in the job market, and what your brand should be doing to appeal to them. As noted earlier, while this provides a guide across current trends and behaviours, it’s vital to remember each potential recruit is an individual, and will be looking for different qualities in a preferred employer.

However, no matter which generation you are targeting and what benefits you present, one characteristic that must be present across your recruitment techniques is consistency. While your employer branding will be tweaked to address the specific concerns facing every generation, they still need to drive your brand’s vision, personality and objectives authentically and effectively.

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Our BAM™ solution empowers your employer brand teams to create high-quality assets that never compromise on your values, educate members of your team on what the essence of your brand is, and store & share assets to your team members across the globe. All without the need for specialist support.

Discover it today and see how it can revolutionise the way you engage with your prospective recruits.

by Papirfly

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