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Today’s cross-generational workplaces present a quandary for employee retention. Companies suffer losses in profits, of course, when they’re not able to retain employees.

Some forms of dissatisfaction are reasons why employees quit.

The reasons could be one of many. It could be from not being appreciated, the pay structure, lack of advancement opportunities, being overlooked for a promotion or tension among workers.

So, it’s in your best interest to promote a trust culture that’s appealing to everyone – young and old.

Employee engagement

This requires employee engagement to build trust. Eliminate any trust gaps with employees.

By better understanding employees and the demographics of your workforce, you’ll understand what satiates cross-generational employees.

Basically, you have three demographics: Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (born between mid-1960’s and 1980) and Millennials (born since 1980).

Of the three, Millennials will become the largest demographic group among your employees.

But you shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to human resources, especially for high performing employees.

For strong company performance, you must be skilled in specialized retention initiatives with strategic HR management.

Develop benefits, incentives, responsibilities and roles that appeal to the preferences of your three employee generations.

Here are the keys to understanding cross-generations:

Baby Boomers

Looking forward to retirement, most baby boomers have worked hard and are the most traditional in terms of dealing with authority and having values.

They provide you with the most emotional maturity, experience, and loyalty. This means they’re likely to care most about your company.


Despite their advanced ages, understand that many Baby Boomers feel they still have contributions to make.

Eliminate mandatory retirement ages. If they wish, allow them to work part-time.

Analyze your perspective. Instead of thinking about their ages, think about their skills.

Develop a mentoring approach so Baby Boomers feel valued, and the other two generations enjoy new challenges and learn new skills from your older workers.

Generation Xers

Employees in this generation are ambitious and have a modicum of experience. It’s true many are workaholics, and will work long hours.


Consider ways to move them into leadership roles capitalizing on their experience and skills.

Look for ways to involve them into growing your company. Why? They’re somewhat independent-minded, which indicates they’re also entrepreneurial minded.

For strong company performance, you must be skilled in specialized retention initiatives with strategic HR management.

Create flexible work schedules to accommodate their propensity to work long and hard.

Line up senior employees to work with them to prepare them for leadership roles.


True, Millennials have the most unique mindsets and are widely believed to have entitlement attitudes.

So they are also the most-unrestricted in terms of openness and being relaxed, and they want a sociable workplace.

They also see a myriad of work experiences as important.


Consider flexible scheduling. Of the three generations, they care the most about a work-life balance.

Analyze and implement programs for training opportunities and career development to take on new challenges and responsibilities. This will help minimize their tendency to job hunt.

Put them in a position to learn how to make decisions because ultimately they want that freedom.

Finally, should any of the employees of your age groups resign, be gracious. Yes, be very gracious.

They’re more likely to decide they left a good thing. Chances are they will want to return to you.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related strategies:

Easiest Ways to Boost Your Employees’ Morale — Employee morale affects performance. Study after study shows a significant percentage of worker morale is mediocre, at best. That’s often the case even for companies that are able to pay competitive wages and benefits. As you might guess, it’s a bigger quandary for business owners that don’t have enough cash flow for raises.

How Not to Worry about Keeping Your Top Employees — Increasingly, employers are worried about filling open slots and retaining their best workers, according to a 2012 survey of 526 human resources professionals. Sixty-one percent indicate they’re concerned about retention. That’s the conclusion from the study, “Retention of Key Talent and the Role of Rewards.”

3 Crucial Tactics Are Needed to Maintain Your Culture — As your company grows, you can expect growing pains and threats to your culture. Whether you create it or not, your business culture happens. There are at least three steps needed to fashion your culture the way you want.

10 Steps to Manage Conflict for High Performance — For progress, a business needs human interaction for ideas and innovation. Sometimes, argument, debate and conflict prove to be productive catalysts for high performance. But such catalysts can be obstacles to success, too. Here are the simplest ways to manage conflict.

Welcoming New Hires the Right Way Enhances Your Culture — What is your plan for welcoming new employees? If you don’t plan well, you risk alienating your new employees, your organization’s culture and ultimately hurting your business performance.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” 

-Max DePree 


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.