3 Solutions to the Challenges of a Multigenerational Workforce in Hong Kong
Companies have always had multiple generations working together in the workforce and the challenges that these age differences bring. However, with Baby Boomers working past retirement age and more Millennials entering the workforce, these differences are becoming increasingly pronounced. Workplaces now have 3 or even 4 generations working together, including:
All of these different generations have their own unique values, communication styles and work habits. Jess Cheuk (Director of Human Resources, The Langham Hong Kong) explained how The Langham’s workforce comprises of 23% Baby Boomers, 36% Gen X, and 41% Gen Y, and described her observations of their differences in work styles. According to Jess, Baby Boomers and Gen X are loyal, hardworking and reliable, whilst members of Gen Y are more social and confident, and need to have a purpose at work. On the other hand, members of Gen Z are more entrepreneurial, with many wishing to start their own businesses. These generations also have different life experiences, with Baby Boomers/Gen X experiencing the financial crisis and SARS, and Gen Y and Gen Z heavily relying on technology.
Jess discussed how the company is approaching meeting the needs of these different generations and leveraging their differences in perspectives. Here are some of the solutions that they have implemented to encourage inter-generational collaboration:
- PINK board/e-platform to share ideas
The Langham Hong Kong has created both a physical board and e-platform for employees to share ideas, thereby appealing to both older and younger generations. These spaces are used to share ideas and inspire others to generate more ideas. All areas of the company join in, from senior management to the tea lady!
- Cross-generational teams
Different generations can learn a great deal from each other’s differing perspectives. Encouraging coworkers of all ages to work together to solve problems and hit bonus as a team also increases rapport between them, together with giving them a sense of purpose and autonomy.
- Flexible working contracts
Different generations have varying lifestyle needs, and contracts should be flexible to allow for these. For example, part-time, contract or casual working hours may be more desired by older generations with families.
I think that the Langham is setting an excellent example by putting an emphasis on acknowledging the different needs of their various generations, along with facilitating teamwork between them. From Baby Boomers to Gen Z, all generations have different strengths that they can learn from each other by working together. I think that their multigenerational model could be improved even further through organizing family friendly events outside of work, for example junk and hiking trips. These would appeal to both young and older generations alike, and encourage relationship building in an informal setting.