· Features

Five tips on managing a diverse workforce

Businesses are melting pots of diverse cultures, generations and personalities, all of which approach work in different ways. Understanding the personality traits of Gen Y and Millennials will help with retention.

The combination of veterans, baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Millennials can be a creative and innovative mix, but it must be managed correctly. What is clear is that with such a range of people under one roof, businesses must prioritise a progressive workplace philosophy for everyone to work together. 

Gen Y constitutes a huge segment of the employee population. They inject fresh ideas, enthusiasm and energy to a workplace. They also tend to apply innovative approaches at work. Organisations must provide a clear career path to this workforce to let them grow. The tasks allocated to them need to be meaningful and provide the opportunity to make decisions for themselves.

Businesses must understand these personality traits in order to facilitate their progression. Capturing and retaining such talent is challenging but essential for success. The following tactics can help guarantee an attractive workplace.

Nurture talent. Gen Y are eager to develop and grow. Employers will have to work hard to provide these employees with exciting opportunities to expand on their experience and use their skills. Similarly, offering candid feedback is a constructive way of developing specific skills sets through on-the-job training and discovering areas for growth. 

Facilitate career progression. The craving to move up the ladder at a rapid speed is what motivates Millennials. The level of passion they show forces us as mentors to be honest when it comes to their assessment and evaluation. Millennials are hard workers with high expectations for personal growth.

Recognition in terms of promotions and carrier growth is something Gen Y is sensitive about. Compensation and public recognition remains a critical driver for retaining Gen Y, but an emphasis on development opportunities is also key to attracting new recruits.

Assess to progress. Continuous assessment is the next best practice to retain the best talent. These need to be done regularly because Millennials rely on feedback to grow and strive. Younger employees tend to be competitive and seek to stamp their mark on the organisation in order to stand out. As a result, businesses need to set goals and measure performance based on personalised parameters to ensure personal growth and recognition.

Diversity fuels creativity. Diversity has become a key to maximising productivity and creativity. By stretching their talent pool into diverse cultures, organisations can have better access to the immense global talent possibilities. Gen Y wants to work with collaborative colleagues and in a diversified work environment. 

Embrace technology. Gen Y has grown up with constant access to technology and are much more tech savvy than previous generations. The organisations they are associated with must, therefore, be technologically and digitally progressive. Millennials mould their personal and professional lives around the communication tools, information and networking enabled by the latest technology. It is essential to build a more collaborative and fun workplace for Millennials where they can connect, share, learn and grow via the platform of their choosing.

Workplaces around the world will now see people from multiple generations working together towards common organisational objectives. Leaders need to focus on transforming themselves to understand, adapt and imbibe the characteristics of Gen Y. Consequently, it's essential to understand these changes and their impacts, and formulate relevant response mechanisms to ensure a win-win situation for the organisation and its people.

Naveen Narayanan is global head of talent acquisition at HCL