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Integrating the Inter-Generational Workforce


Effective integration of the three generations currently in the workplace will leverage the huge amount of knowledge and experience that exists therein.  To optimise this, there needs to be appreciation and understanding of each generation’s values and perceptions of the world, and its future.

As Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloiite Touche Tohmatsu Ltd points out, “I think it’s clear Millennials are demanding change, and it’s time business took notice. They can’t afford not to: by 2025 Millennials will represent 75% of the global workforce.”

It would seem apparent then, that some re-modelling of business infrastructure and processes is needed, to accommodate new values. A recent white paper by the Access Group describes 5 key factors that Gen Y and future Millennials seek in the workplace:

Abundant learning opportunities

·         A ‘learning culture’ in the workplace, where training and development is delivered as needed.

·         Be sure to have the tools in-place to identify skills gaps, abilities and training needs.

·         Schedule learning activities, from trainer-led and online sessions to peer-based activities and one-to-one coaching.

Fast progression

·         Promotion based on record of achievement and proven ability to meet (or exceed) set goals.

·         Put in place more formal paths for career progression, based on an individual’s appraisals and the training they’ve completed.

·         Fast-track those whose talent marks them out as future leaders via an accelerated programme of training and development.

Frequent feedback

·         Provide feedback more regularly than is provided by the traditional annual review.

·         Providing self-service functions that enable employees to track their own day-to-day and week-to-week progress against the goals set for them can also serve to streamline and automate the appraisal process.

·         Identify an individual’s skills gaps and training needs, so that constructive advice and guidance on the best way forward can be provided.

International assignments

·         The opportunity to work abroad can be a powerful motivator for some employees, and helps to create a global mind-set.

More flexible working arrangements

·         Work is about what gets done, not where it’s done, so extend flexible and remote working arrangements to employees who find that they are more productive away from the office.

·         For those who spend much of their time travelling for business, remote working is a matter of necessity, so ensure this need is properly met.

·         Ensure remote workers still feel like ‘part of the team’ by providing them with the ability to view their own goals and objectives within the wider organisational context. Provide frequent sessions and activities that keep them engaged and in touch.

 A recent survey by Deloitte provides further insights:

Millennials expect businesses to care. Most Millennials think business can do much more to address society’s challenges in the areas of resource scarcity, climate change and income equality.

Millennials want to be innovative. Millennials want to work for organizations that support innovation. They believe the biggest barriers to innovation are management attitude, operational structures and procedures, and employee skills, attitudes, and lack of diversity.

Millennials want to be leaders. Almost one in four Millennials are ‘asking for a chance’ to show their leadership skills, and believe their organisations could do more to develop future leaders.

Millennials want to make a difference. Millennials are charitable and interested to participate in ‘public life’, and believe a focus on improving society should be among the most important things a business should seek to achieve.

Millennials are ready to go their own way. Roughly 70 percent of Millennials see themselves working independently at some point, rather than being employed within a traditional organisational structure. Businesses should seek to address these concerns else they may find they will lose skilled professionals in the years ahead.

In Kevin Kelly’s book New Rules for the New Economy, he points out that our new economy has three distinguishing characteristics:

It is global

It favours intangible things – ideas, information, and relationships

It is intensely interlinked

These are the realm of the Millennial generation who are the innovators and developers of their future.  It is up to the generations before them to act as their mentors, trainers and coaches, to pass on their own experience and adjust the workplace to help them do just that.


The Access Group (2014). Are Your People Your Power?

Salzberg, Barry. (Jan 22, 2014) What Millennials Want (And Why Employers Should Take Notice). Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. Linkedin article.

Deloitte (2014). The Millennial Survey 2014.

Kelly, K. (1998) New Rules for the New Economy. New York: Viking

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