Employees of different ages should not be treated differently in order for a firm to succeed. For years, I have attended Human Resources seminars where the presenter spends an hour or more talking about how different generations of people in the workforce should be treated differently. That information never made sense to me. All of us want to be treated fairly in the workplace. We all want a chance to advance in our career, get proper training, be recognized for achievements, and contribute to the firm’s growth. If an employee doesn’t want these things, why should that person be in your workforce? If the essential job functions can be accomplished, does the age of the employee matter?
There are hundreds of companies who have achieved great success establishing a winning culture. Then they attract and keep people who want to participate in that culture and get rid of people who do not want to participate in the culture. These successful companies do not focus on the age differences of employees.
It doesn’t make sense, to me, to want to have a cohesive unit of people focused on achieving the same goal, moving in the same direction and then on the other hand identify “artificial” differences between them. The latter only serves to breed contempt and divisiveness.
FINALLY, Kathryn Mitchell, SHRM-SCP, is an HR training and development consultant in Arlington, Texas, with 25 years of HR experience a Human Resources person has published an article “Why Using Generational Labels Doesn’t Serve HR” that clearly develops the reasons why focusing on the “age” of the employee doesn’t make sense.
This article debunks the myths around different motivation factors for different age groups
I would encourage reading the article. I list below her conclusion and suggest that HR people recognize that dividing your workforce by age group is not an efficient way to manage people.
Stop Pigeonholing People
While generational studies such as these noted can offer valuable insights, they should not be construed as definitive traits. Furthermore, connecting with every generation, including the next one, doesn’t rely on treating each age group differently. Applying a broader knowledge of diversity and societal shifts is far more effective. Managing people is never simple, and employees will vary in how much they value certain aspects of work, such as flexibility and compensation, at different points in their lives. We need not only to understand that but also to grasp that people of all ages want many of the same things, including trust in their employer, the opportunity to connect and be heard, and the ability to make a difference in their world.