Talent Management in a Multi-Generational Workforce

Multi Generational Workforce Talent Management

In a recent Inc. article, “Why Generational Diversity Is the Ultimate Competitive Advantage,” author Ryan Jenkins said “marrying previous generations’ experience with Millennials’ fresh perspectives and innovation will help future-proof organizations in the twenty-first century.” As the composition of the workforce continues its rapid evolution, financial institutions should focus on promoting a culture where we can all learn from one another, regardless of our age. There’s no question that banking is an experienced-based business. Experience will always be highly sought after and all organizations need it to survive. However, in order to thrive, banks and credit unions need to add “innovation” to the list as a close second. Innovation requires closely evaluating allperspectives, with the ultimate goal of adapting to customers’ needs in real-time.

So what else can your organization do to facilitate this so-called “marriage of experience and fresh perspective?” Here are some other initiatives that can enhance retention and have your multi-generational team running on all cylinders – “communicating with the confidence of a Baby Boomer, the experience level of Gen X, and the velocity of a Millennial.”

Formal Mentorship Programs (or Reverse Mentorship Programs)

  • Boomers have more organizational/institutional knowledge than any generation. Leverage the dissemination of this knowledge through a multi-generational mentorship whereby everyone can win. Boomers can take an active role in the development of a younger employee. Younger employees can share their visions, ambitions, and frustrations. In doing so, there is a great chance Boomers will learn from and better understand their mentee (or mentor) and vice versa.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

  • Diversity and inclusion efforts are a proven way to engage existing employees and attract new talent. Diversity promotes innovative thinking and client-centric decision-making. In a recent blog post, PwC found that 85% of CEOs who were surveyed in its Annual Global CEO Survey found that formal diversity and inclusiveness strategies had a measurable impact to their bottom line. The same survey said that 77% of CEOs surveyed already have a diversity/inclusion strategy in place or have initiatives in motion to adopt one in the next 12 months.
  • Haven’t started an initiative like this? Start by identifying members of a managing committee who in turn select millennial employees to represent their respective business lines. This program could be rotational or not, however, ensure that objectives and goals are pre-defined and measurable. Include panels for input on the company’s products/services, the company culture, and professional development activities. Here are the FDIC’s standards for assessing diversity policies and practices: https://www.fdic.gov/about/diversity/dibanking.html

Peer-to-Peer Recognition Platforms

  • In a recent Harvard Business Review Article, “The Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Praise at Work,” the results of two studies indicated that recognition programs have an impactful ROI, result in increased performance and engagement, and increased customer loyalty (measured by net promoter score). In fact, JetBlue, a low-cost airline carrier, cited that for every 10% increase in the number of employees recognized, the company saw a 3% increase in retention and a 2% increase in employee engagement!
  • Baker Hill recently rolled out a peer-to-peer recognition program that has quickly gained attention across the organization. Anyone can nominate another employee regardless of either employee’s title or function in the organization. There are multiple levels of recognition and various criteria for which an employee can be nominated.
  • The most impactful part of the initiative so far has been “spot” awards. The nominator writes an email detailing the nominees’ contributions, which then goes to an inbox monitored by the Engagement Council. The employee making the nomination coordinates with the nominee’s manager and finds an appropriate time and setting where the employee is recognized for their contribution.

Bringing it All Together

There’s no doubt that managing a multi-generational workforce adds another layer of complexity to the way we think about and manage our organizations. The institutions that are able to embrace these workforce changes as opportunities will stand out against the competition. They will be capable of retaining, attracting, and developing top performers of all ages and all levels of the business. These multi-partisan, solution-focused initiatives can break down unnecessary and inefficient barriers, encourage creativity, and promote an environment where your most important assets (your employees) can quite simply, be happier.

Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials, let’s all do our part, let’s reach across the aisle, and let’s learn from each other’s strengths. Let’s set aside the stereotypes, let’s respect experience, let’s listen to one another’s ideas – we owe it to our clients, our businesses, and most of all, to ourselves. Change is never easy, but it’s worth it as noted by Whitney Young Jr.: “Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful, it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful, it is inspiring because the challenge now exists to make things better.”

I look forward to hearing your feedback and I welcome your input about any solution-focused initiatives that your financial institutions are pursuing to address the many challenges with managing a multi-generational workforce.

Topics: industry trends