Ensure your employer brand spans the generations

Barney Ely
Director of Hays Human Resources
Hays
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With life expectancy and the age of retirement ever increasing, the age range of people in work is widening and there will soon be five generations working side-by-side in organisations across the UK.

This diversity in employee ages presents an opportunity for organisations to draw upon different perspectives of a range of customer markets and improve business performance. Organisations may find for example that young workers encourage innovation within the workplace, as they can bring new perspectives often challenging the traditions older employees may be holding on to.

Here are a number of ways to ensure a more age diverse recruitment approach can be captured in your hiring strategy.

Employer branding isn’t one-size-fits-all 

With different generations comes different perspectives. When it comes to employer loyalty, Generations X, Y and Z are far less likely to have the same concerns as traditionalists and baby-boomers when thinking about moving between employers.

To hold on to young talent you need to ensure your business is on the front-foot and agile in how you promote yourself as an employer of choice. Various reports, such as our recent What Workers Want study, look into the differing priorities between the generations and will prove useful in understanding which aspects of your workplace appeal to different age demographics. Use this awareness to help you tailor your employer branding strategy.

Attract Gen X with your forward thinking

Employees born roughly between 1965 and 1976 fall into Generation X, including some of the world’s most prominent entrepreneurs, such as Amazon’s founder Jess Bezos and Larry Page, one of the founders of Google. This is the generation that has witnessed the impact of digital innovation first-hand as they entered the world of work, and most appreciate the changes it brought with it.

An “intrapreneurial” organisational culture will appeal most to this demographic. By that, it essentially means one which encourages idea sharing and innovation from all areas of the business. You also need to emphasise how your business can and will stay ahead of the digital transformations currently sweeping across workplaces globally. It’s also important to show the ways in which you embrace disruption within your industry, rather than fear it, and how all aspects of your company have evolved and adapted through a changing landscape.

Millennials want career progression

This generation is a particularly tenacious, ambitious and adventurous group of workers due to the newly-created career opportunities brought to them by technological advancement.

Millennials demand constructive feedback and development from their employers, expecting to see progression within their roles and reward for their effort, as found in a report by PwC. Their ambition also leads these workers overseas, with 71 per cent of respondents saying they have plans to work abroad during the course of their career.

Our Hays What Workers Want report found that the key areas to focus on when adjusting your talent strategy towards millennials are; career progression, reward and development as this generation find individual performance related bonuses extremely motivating. Celebrating the contribution made to overall business objectives by certain employees, communicating internal career success stories and publishing international mobility case studies are just a few great examples of how to tailor your offering to these workers.

Business reputation and purpose matter most to Generation Z

Having grown up on social media, Gen Z are thought to spend up to 10 hours a day online pursuing activities such as socialising, reading and building an online empire for themselves, all at the same time. Much of the research into this generation suggests that employer brand reputation is more important to this generation of employees than any other. This is partly due to the importance they place upon parental influence as they are likely to source opinions from family members on a potential employer. 

To attract this next generation of workers, invest in developing a strong online employer brand to emphasise why you a leading player in your sector or field. Utilizing social media will also go a long way with this group.

In terms of data and measurement relating to Generation Z, there isn’t as comprehensive an amount to go by as with the other generations, so it is crucial to invest time in active listening and watch out for trends within this group, as their thoughts will be invaluable.

Recognising these key differences between the generations will be key to attracting and nurturing a productive, age-diverse workforce from which your business will see multiple benefits.

About Barney Ely

Barney Ely

Barney Ely, Director of Hays Human Resources

Barney joined Hays in 1993 as a business graduate and is now Director for Hays Human Resources. Barney also has operational responsibility for Hays offices across the South of England, placing professionals in over 20 industry sectors covering everything from accountancy and finance to construction, IT education and healthcare.

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