In today’s candidate-driven market, it’s important for companies to create a recruitment message that is inclusive of all generations in the workforce. However, with headlines about attracting and hiring Millennials dominating the recruitment industry, it seems as though many companies are putting just one generation at the forefront of their talent attraction strategies. With Millennials forecasted to make up only 35% of the global workforce by 2020, focusing on just one-third of the workforce could become risky for companies trying to build a diverse and inclusive organisation.
The risks of not appealing to all generations in the workforce
It’s no secret that not having a diverse and inclusive workforce can pose risks to a business. As a result, many companies have implemented entire internal divisions dedicated to creating a diverse and inclusive culture. Though, unfortunately, only 8% of organisations include age as a part of their D&I strategies.
When companies don’t appeal to a variety of generations, there are many benefits they could be missing out on. For example, studies show that companies with mixed-age teams see higher productivity in both their older and younger workers, and that age-diversity in a team increases the performance of the group when complex decision-making tasks need to be performed. As a result, organisations who aren’t hiring for an inclusive and age-diverse culture could be missing out on the chance to improve their company’s performance and employee productivity.
How many generations are in today’s workforce?
Despite the focus on Millennials, there are four dynamic generations that make up today’s workforce. These include Baby Boomers (age 55-73), Gen X (age 39-54), Millennials (Age 23-38) and Gen Z (age 7-22). So how can organisations create a recruitment message that attracts and engages with job seekers across all of these generations?
1. Use age-inclusive language in your job descriptions
Regardless of age, for many job seekers, your job description will often be the first impression they have of your company, culture, and values. And while it’s important to ensure your job descriptions are attracting quality candidates, it’s equally important that they attract quality candidates of all ages. As a result, it’s vital to use language that targets workers from all four generations—not just Millennials.
For example, try to avoid words like “digital native”, “high-energy”, and “ninja” or “guru” as these terms are often associated with the younger generation and can be off-putting to older workers, thus unintentionally limiting your talent pool.
Also, be aware of what you include about your company and its culture in your job descriptions. While for the younger generation perks such as happy hour, free lunch, and social gatherings might be appealing when applying to a new job, for older workers generous superannuation schemes and healthcare is often more important. So, try to provide information about your company that will be appealing to people of all ages. For example, the ability to work remotely is an important factor to job seekers across the four generations.
2. Show candidates of all ages how you’re bridging the skills gap
It’s important to remember that both older and younger workers bring unique experiences and perspectives to the workplace, and when they work together, can learn and develop from each other. For example, when employees of all ages work together, they can learn from each other about working with new technologies, managing corporate politics, developing soft skills, and collaborating with diverse groups of people.
But, with 60%1 of job seekers claiming they chose not to apply to a job because they did not have experience with the specific tool or skills listed in the description, companies who don’t show how they are helping their employees adapt and grow their skills on the job could be missing out on top candidates.
So when building your employer brand, posting your next job ad, or updating your Company Page, make sure to include information about any company initiatives your organisation has that helps put older and younger workers in contact with each other to learn and develop.
For example, Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric asked 500 of his top executives to connect with younger employees to learn about new technologies in the industry, and Microsoft has an apprenticeship program for participants with unique perspectives, who may have a non-traditional background or returning from time away from the workplace, to participate in a 16-week program to learn real-world experience.
3. Foster a culture that celebrates workers of all ages
With 59%2 of job seekers agreeing that the culture of inclusivity at a company has a significant impact on their decision to accept a job or not, companies who don’t have an age-inclusive culture could be turning great candidates off from working at their organisation.
Creating an age-inclusive culture means ensuring employees of all ages feel comfortable, respected and appreciated within their teams and in the company. You can do this by tailoring the benefits at your company to appeal to all generations—not just Millennials. For example, while younger employees often enjoy attending work happy hours, older employees may feel more appreciative of having a good parental leave policy or regular Family Days at work.
By ensuring employees of all ages can enjoy and participate in company perks and feel more connected to the company culture, you can potentially help retain employees across the four generations longer than the average time most Australians stay at a job.
From improving productivity and performance, to upskilling employees and boosting morale, creating an age-inclusive recruitment message can bring many benefits to both organisations and their employees. But in order to both hire and retain employees of all ages, it’s important for organisations to ensure their age-inclusive recruitment message is consistent with their company culture and touches upon all points of the recruiting process: from job seeker, to qualified candidate, to employee and beyond.
1 + 2 Methodology: This research was conducted by Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed among 1,000 Australian job seekers in 2018.