Multigenerational Workforce: Five Tips to Engage Staff

by Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and executive director, NJCPA | Nov 28, 2017

When I think about today’s workforce, it’s hard not to focus on the differences in age groups – Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers and those called the Silent Generation. But they have a lot of common ground too – committed individuals and dedicated professionals in every age bracket. As CEO and executive director of a membership organization, I have long embraced what each group can bring to the table and how they can relate to all types of our members.

The best way to do that is to ignore the stereotypes, which can, and frequently are, wrong. Contrary to popular belief, a Pew Research study released last April, for example, showed that Millennials aren’t job-hopping any faster than Generation X did in their time. And some are staying longer. Meanwhile, despite Baby Boomers lamenting about being called the “sandwich” generation due to simultaneously caring for their children and their aging parents, 70 percent of Baby Boomers said in an AARP study that they expect their children to care for them in their old age too.

Here are five tips to embrace the multigenerational age groups but still work together as a team:

  • Request feedback. When implementing a new service offering or simply revamping a website, it’s important to hear feedback from all staff, not just leadership.
  • Encourage innovation. An office environment that allows for free-flowing ideas will help everyone be an innovator.
  • Mentor where possible. Entry-level employees and young professionals are not always going to seek out and ask for career help; it’s best to encourage mature professionals to reach out first.
  • Recognize achievements. Whether it’s a mature staff member or a young professional, a word of thanks and recognition goes a long way.
  • Pick up the phone. While some generations are more amenable than others to phone calls, the gesture often is welcomed.      

Today’s multigenerational workforce does not need to be managed as much as they need to be engaged. Keeping that in mind should help promote an effective workplace for all.

Ralph Albert Thomas

Ralph Albert Thomas

Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CGMA, is the CEO and executive director of the New Jersey Society of CPAs. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and serves on the AICPA Council and the CPA Vision Project team. He was appointed to the inaugural AICPA National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, and subsequently the AICPA Foundation Board. Ralph is a lifetime member and former national and chapter president of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), was appointed chair of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s (NASBA) State Society Relations Committee, and is a member of the accounting advisory boards of Lehigh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Montclair State, Felician, Thomas Edison universities and Middlesex County College.

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