Different Generations in the Workplace: How to Retain Skilful Workers
Author Different Generations in the Workplace: How to Retain Skilful Workers  | 

Most of us are working with people of different ages and generations. At the moment, the workplace can have the following generations:

  • Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964) – they are close to retirement, prefer email or face-to-face interaction, are disciplined and respectful.
  • Generation X (1965 – 1981) – they prefer job security, value work-life balance, good with technology, enjoy collaboration.
  • Generation Y – Millennials (1988 – 1995) – they compose 50% of employees, at the moment. They usually want flexible working hours, switch jobs more frequently and highly rely on technology at work.
  • Generation Z (1996 – 2005) – these people are proficient users of tech, they are entrepreneurial and demand freedom. They also like to change jobs throughout the course of life.
  • Generation Alpha (2005 – present) – this is the future of the workforce, which will probably be connected highly with digital devices.

These generations have different approaches to work and organisations should treat them differently at the workplace to boost productivity and increase employee retention.

The highest employee turnover is seen amongst Gen Y and Gen Z. Some of the causes of retention issues are financial concerns and fear of not being able to support oneself after retirement, high stress and burnout levels. While factors for employee retention are good to work/life balance, learning and development opportunities, high salary and financial benefits, positive workplace culture, career progression, sense of being meaning, and flexible working.

Another important consideration for those is if the company is working towards sustainability. Since 89% of millennials and 90% of gen Z are taking at least some effort to help the environment, it is important for them to see the same from their employees. However, at the moment, only 16% of millennials and 18% of gen Z believe that their employees are committed to sustainability.

The cost of employee turnover is significant and accounts for approximately 33% of employee’s annual salary. So how do employers make sure to keep employees from quitting and cut organisation losses?

Firstly, since many people are concerned about their financial state, organisations can support them not only through monetary incentives but also by providing workshops on financial literacy to teach about wealth accumulation, financial planning, pension plans, and investment paths. As well they should work towards closing the wage gap to ensure women and people from minority groups have good financial states and career growth opportunities.

Secondly, since stress and burnout rates are the reasons for quitting, employers can promote well-being at the workplace and offer flexible working hours. They need to support and praise employees to encourage productivity and make sure people have a good work-life balance.

Thirdly, employers should inspire employees and include them in important work projects to give them a sense of importance for the company. Organisations should provide training and professional development workshops to promote moving up the career ladder. They need to empower people at any level and show them opportunities for growth in the organisation. Improvement in engagement rate is shown to have a 24% decrease in turnover.

These practices will help to retain skilled people, increase organisation productivity, and attract a talented workforce.

[1] 9 key characteristics of Generation X in the workplace | UK

[2] 5 Different Generations at Workplace and How Each Approach Their Work (

[3]Global Millennial & Gen Z Survey 2022 | Deloitte Insights

[4] 27 US Employee Turnover Statistics [2022]: Average Employee Turnover Rate, Industry Comparisons, And Trends – Zippia