Research has shown that successful organisations are ones that excel at ensuring internal consistency with effective strategies to attract, engage, develop and retain talent within their company. In addition, these practices need to be aligned with the company’s corporate culture, business strategy and long-term aspirations.

With increased life expectancy, more generations of people are working together than ever before. As age diversity continues to grow in Singapore’s workforce, organisations face the task of integrating both senior workers and the emerging batch of tech-savvy millennials.

This is a significant challenge as both groups have their own unique characteristics and abilities which stem from shared life experiences. Nevertheless, a multi-generational workforce can provide a basis for different skillsets, perspectives and knowledge to be harnessed and passed down to the next generation. In addition, such an integrated and engaged workforce can also spawn innovation, help with talent retention and increase the adaptability of staff.


Recruiting the right people

At its heart, a harmonious and productive multi-generational workforce is made up of the right people. Organisations that know how to gauge and leverage the strengths and differences in an age-diverse workforce will be able to tap on a wider pool of candidates for the business.

To do so, organisations need to revamp their traditional recruitment practices in order to reach out to and better engage with potential candidates. For starters, organisations should consider advertising job vacancies and postings on multiple job boards, as well as social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. This will help to open up more channels for communication between the organisation and its potential candidates.

Next, organisations need to invest in back-end tech-driven solutions and systems to complete their HR ecosystem with better talent sourcing, efficient tracking and matching of candidates to the right positions.

Labour market information and data analytics tools are also invaluable for recruiters to make informed decisions about their hiring processes and distil vast amounts of candidate information into an easily-digestible format.


Technologically driven recruiting

Fortunately for employers, there are already fully customisable solutions available to address these recruitment challenges. To effectively utilise these solutions, companies first need to know what kind of candidates they are looking for, understand the approximate size of the current talent pool for these candidates and how best to engage these candidates.

Service-as-a-solution technologies, many of which have automated functions for the tracking and updating of candidates, can then be utilised to reach out to and engage suitable talent. It is crucial for organisations to be able to create and maintain a talent pipeline by locating and keeping track of high calibre applicants, even before hiring is formally commenced.

An effective talent source, together with specialised recruitment tools, ensures that businesses maintain their competitive edge by eliminating talent-job mismatch while maximising recruitment speed and cost-effectiveness.


Building an inclusive environment

To be able to effectively harness the potential of a multi-generational workforce, companies also need to recognise and promote organisational cohesion among the people they hire. An inclusive environment involves building an infrastructure that is parallel to the training framework within the organisation.

A good way to facilitate a more formal structure for knowledge transfer and sharing is through integration and education programmes. Organisations can implement a buddy mentorship system that pairs a mature worker with a new hire.

Doing so allows employees to better understand their co-workers’ personalities and working styles, facilitating a good working relationship. This can also translate into a support network for employees when they require help or advice in their work. This arrangement can also inspire new ideas and innovation as employees form a strong bond together.

Organisations can also consider building a more conducive physical environment for their employees.

This can include having an open-concept office to encourage more engagement among employees or a common pantry space for employees to interact informally.

These arrangements will serve to encourage positive interaction and foster a better understanding of different backgrounds within the workplace.

Additionally, organisations should ensure that their Human Resource (HR) team and individuals handling HR functions are adequately trained to embrace and practise workplace diversity. This includes implementing policies and work arrangements that benefit both the organisation and employees, by being more aware about how employees of different generations may like to be treated.

At the end of the day, a harmonious multi-generational team that is effectively managed will have energised employees who are more creative.

By leveraging on the strengths and values of each generation, organisations can create a competitive advantage while ensuring that all employees are equipped with opportunities to realise their full potential.

Article by Serene Lam, the managing director of CareerBuilder Singapore.