How leaders can engage a hybrid intergenerational team

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Among the many disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the overnight pivot to remote working may have the longest lasting effects for businesses. According to a recent round table presented by Fast business and Upwork, hybrid work environments will set the next standard. Yet, according to Adobe’s most recent State of Work Study, generational groups are adjusting and navigating remote work patterns at disparate rates.

As companies prepare their workplaces for the future, they need to think about how they will tackle negative trends, like ageism, and close the generational gaps that have the potential to widen in the face of climate change. continued remote and hybrid work. Otherwise, in the quest for virtualization, companies will fail to attract, engage and retain talent of all ages.

The following pillars form the basis of an effective hybrid framework that can help companies recruit, build and engage successful intergenerational teams.

Digital training

When the world’s largest work-from-home “experiment” was launched in China in early 2020, the rest of the world quickly followed suit to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Despite the hiccups and challenges along the way, the trend has provided businesses and employees with valuable educational moments. The office, as we once knew it, may never be the same again, and that’s potentially a good thing. Bloomberg report earlier this year predicted that long-term remote working could increase productivity by 5% in the United States

Businesses will need to embrace digital transformation to maximize virtual work models and thrive in a post-pandemic economy. However, each generation brings its own unique sets of knowledge, expectations, needs and habits. For example, while baby boomers are stereotyped as being ‘tech-resistant’, a report eMarketer has found that they tend to value practical adoption of technologies and are more likely to stick with and master the technologies they use.

The key is to provide digital training programs accessible from all devices and across all platforms so employees, from Zoomers to Baby Boomers, can onboard, grow and develop.

Employers should also consider the location of their talent pools in their own digital adoption journey. For example, if Slack is implemented as a communication tool, some workers may be able to integrate without extensive training. But there must also be another option for workers to undergo extensive training if such an instant messaging platform is unfamiliar to them.

Moreover, for all the differences in a multigenerational workforce, a single training strategy is insufficient. In an age of continuous disruption, all employees, even digital native zoomers, will need to be continuously trained to foster an innovative growth mindset.

Aimee Peters, head of marketing and corporate communications at Mashreq Bank, said her company aims to “ensure that employees everywhere in the 12 countries in which we operate can access the same technology, messaging, training and communications via the same platforms. “She says this provides the building blocks for rolling out programs aimed at attracting people of all ages to the workforce,” whether they are returnees, recent graduates, or prospects for new roles. “

Include age in DCI initiatives

According to the CEO of Fortune / Deloitte 2021 investigation, 90% of CEOs say Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DCI) is a strategic and personal priority. Likewise, 90% of CEOs surveyed also said their company aspires to lead their industry in DCI practices.

While DCI is certainly gaining traction is certainly a positive, the current momentum may not be enough to support the multigenerational workforce working remotely.

Despite the growing attention to EDI, only 8% of companies take age into account when designing initiatives. Meanwhile, an AARP investigation found that one in four employees aged 45 and over had been negatively harmed because of their age at work.

On the other side of the same coin, young employees can also be pass for leadership roles or opportunities due to their age. A recent to study published by the American Psychological Association found that young workers may face ageism at work more often than their more mature counterparts.

Alarmingly, remote working models can lead to more cases of discrimination, including age discrimination, according to a recent report report published by Project Include. To counter this, companies with hybrid models will need to be aware of how they design DCI initiatives and policies.

Commenting on this, Simon Kahn, vice president of marketing for Google Asia Pacific, said: “Creating a space where everyone feels accepted for who they are has always been at the heart of our culture. While the exercise is a lifelong work in progress, we are committed to having an open dialogue and educating ourselves to develop a common language around inclusiveness, including age and multigenerational diversity.

In addition to digital training, companies may seek to offer mentoring programs and additional training aimed at building bridges between generations. “Workshops on topics such as unconscious bias help us become aware of underlying beliefs that might shape decisions,” says Kahn, “while those on standards of communication, especially in a hybrid environment, enabled empathy and improved collaboration between workers of all ages in our workforce. “

Flexible hours and work-life balance

As millions of employees have stayed at home to smooth the infection curve during the pandemic, living rooms have become offices overnight and work has invaded our physical and emotional spaces like never before. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for people to start to burn out.

Against the pressures of the past two years, each generation has had its own problems. Baby boomers, in particular, have had to give serious thought to the risks the virus may present more to their own health than young workers. Generation X, the new sandwich generation, is most likely to be able to simultaneously care for children and aging parents.

According to a report of New York Life who said 40% of millennials were more likely to care for an aging parent during COVID-19 than before the pandemic, compared to 34% of Gen-Xs and 13% of baby boomers. Meanwhile, Zoomers report the highest stress levels of any generation, according to The data from the American Psychological Association.

It is clear that workers of all generations can benefit from a better work-life balance.

Careem, an Uber affiliate that maintains a remote workforce first, has focused on work-life balance to increase productivity in the long run.

“To make sure this doesn’t become a permanent culture, we actively encourage dedicating time to life each day,” said Ruth Fletcher, senior vice president of people at Careem. “We maintain and, in some cases, improve productivity while providing space for practice, school runs, family meals and creative activities. We are already seeing a strong response from candidates and, in the long run, we believe this flexibility will provide a real competitive advantage when it comes to talent retention.

Looking to the future: listening to employees

With the threat of new variants as well as “twindemics and multidemics” hanging over us, companies are realizing that hybrid work is here to stay. But they also listen to their employees and make adjustments to meet the specific needs of their workforce.

For example, Mastercard recently extended its weekend flexibility program until the end of 2021, encouraging employees to use the flexible schedule before the official weekend begins. The company also designated quarterly non-meeting days and showcased its four-week Work From Elsewhere program.

“This is all because our employees told us they value the flexibility in when, where and how they work to better manage their work-life balance,” said Michael Fraccaro, director of human resources at Mastercard. “These programs show not only that we listened, but that we acted on their input and ideas, and we will continue to do so. “

Remote working practices are relatively new, so hybrid frameworks must remain malleable. What works today may need to be adjusted tomorrow, especially as companies seek to harness the talents of a multigenerational hybrid workforce. By listening to employees, businesses can create a hybrid framework that maximizes productivity, increases engagement, and empowers employees, at all ages and generations.


Sun Farzan is an award-winning marketing veteran and dynamic career coach with nearly two decades of global integrated marketing expertise to help executives design personal branding strategies that support business growth goals and achieve omnichannel engagement .



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