Multi-generational workforce welcome, but conflict risks persist

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Multi-generational workforce welcome, but conflict risks persist
Emily Robinson

Employers value the differing skillsets and knowledge that a multi-generational workforce can bring, but many worry that with this comes the increased potential for conflict in the workplace.

Improved living standards, deflating pension pots and legal protection against age discrimination have all helped to nudge up the retirement age. The result is that for the first time since the Industrial Revolution five generations of employees are now working side by side.

A new YouGov survey of middle market businesses commissioned by leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM found that seven in ten firms in the Midlands and East Anglia said that an age diverse workforce helped the company to have a more comprehensive skillset and knowledge base.

Almost eight in ten felt that a multi-generational workforce brought contrasting views to their organisation.

However, four in ten companies said that a multi-generational workforce also increased the risk of conflict in the workplace.

Interestingly, the survey also found that managers tend to find managing their own generations easier than managing others. This was true for baby boomers, millennials and generation-X respondents.

“Having five generations under one roof doesn’t have to create friction or management headaches,” said Emily Robinson, a senior consultant from RSM HR.

“As our survey found, many organisations value the diversity of opinions, experience and knowledge that a multi-generational workforce can bring.

“But taking advantage of those benefits will depend on the ability of organisations to create a culture where everyone feels heard, valued and understood.”