Companies work to bridge the generational divide by adapting to needs and wants of employees

Posted at 8:26 AM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 08:26:33-05

CLEVELAND — Right now, the oldest ‘Generation Z’ members are clocking into the workforce. For some companies, that’s four generations working under one roof.

Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor source according to the PEW Research Center and with Gen. Z now flowing in, the needs and wants of employees are changing.

Alexander Mann Solutions, a national recruiting firm in Cleveland, is, like many companies, dealing with multi-generations working together.

Tanya Marie Nichols is the head of Human Resources for the company, she said the first step to bridge the generational gap is to not judge anyone based on what year they were born.

“We allow each person, no matter what generation they are in, to bring their full authentic selves into the workplace,” she said.

Nichols said she often hears complaints about certain workers coming from different generations but urges people to understand that each generation has its own set of challenges and experiences that shape them and how they work.

“The millennial generation, for example, is coming out of school $35,000 to $45,000 dollars in student loan debt,” said Nichols.

She noted in the workforce, that translates to money. They’re looking for ways to get more of it faster.

“They, in their mind perhaps, don't feel like they have time to join the company and slowly work their way up because they have to advance quickly and make more money to get that weight off and then move on the next level in their lives,” she said.

A recent study by Gallup shows that millennials are the "job hopping" generation. The data reveals that 21% of millennials have changed jobs within the past year, which is more than three times the number of non-millennials.

Nichols said it’s important for employers not to blame them for job-hopping.

“We can’t blackball Peggy Sue because she moved over from one role after only a year and a half or 2 years looking for that next advancement and that next opportunity,” she said.

Over are the days of climbing the same company’s corporate ladder.

“That’s just the old way of thinking,” she said. “Instead of trying to force them into your box and following your rules, we need to acclimated and understand what this new workforce needs.”

She said to retain the younger employees, the change needs to come from the employers.

“As everything grows and develops, the needs and wants of whatever generation that comes will also develop. So, we need to constantly be ready to flex and change.”