How to develop better employee experiences across generations

June 30, 2022 | 4 minute read
Amy Lindsey
Senior Product Marketing Manager
Albert Qian
Content marketing manager for HCM
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Employee experience is about meeting the needs of every worker to bring out their best, whether it’s developing meaningful career goals or connecting with colleagues as a part of the corporate culture.

The complexities of employee experience increase when you consider how many different generations of workers are presently in the workforce, including Baby Boomers (born 1946-64), Generation X (born 1965-80), Millennials (born 1981-96), and Generation Z (born 1996-2012). For businesses, effectively managing workers born in these eras is a priority that 70% believe is crucial to their short-term success, but only 10% are ready to take action.

You likely have employees from every generation who bring unique perspectives to your organization based on their life experiences. However, as you’re looking to build better employee experiences, it’s also important to note that generations aren’t the only factor in understanding employees.

“We have to take all aspects [including technographic and out-of-work behavior] into account and realize that it’s really a Rubik’s Cube,” said Jason Averbook at our What Matters Virtual Summit. “It’s not one dimensional and [we] have to look at multiple characteristics that make up a person.”

Here are three areas you can consider as a starting point.

1. Motivation and career success

Career motivation is defined as the set of individual characteristics and associated decisions that reflect a person’s identity in relation to their work. It’s often impacted by the economic conditions that workers experience and how they believe they must behave to remain employable. For example, Generation X professionals grew up watching their Baby Boomer parents become overworked and burnt-out, while Generation Z observed Millennials struggle on the heels of The Great Recession. As a result, Generation X workers are seen as very independent, while Generation Z highly ranks job security.

Connected closely to motivation is career success. Similar to career motivation, the definition of success originates from the economic landscape in which each generation grew up in. Your Baby Boomer employees grew up with the impression that working long hours equated to eventual seniority, while younger Millennials see job security, skill development, and financial stability as the keys to success.

Every generation is motivated by different reasons, so your managers must approach conversations based on what they hear from their reports—which means they should be having regular one-on-one conversations and asking for continuous feedback. Then, as you consider making changes to your employee experience, you’ll know what will keep each cohort engaged at work, whether it’s compensation, work duties, recognition, or something else.

2. Technology immersion

While technology is essential in accomplishing most job duties, each generation interacts with it differently. Generation Z professionals grew up as “digital natives” surrounded by social media, mobile phones, and the Internet. According to research from Dell, over 80% of this cohort expect to work on cutting-edge technology, and 91% state that technology would influence their job choice.

For Baby Boomers, their competitive nature allows them to use technology if it means they will be seen and trusted at work. While they did not grow up with the technology that Generation Z and millennials have, they are among some of the biggest adopters of technology. A survey even found that 85% of Baby Boomers wished more businesses adopted technology.

The best technology will adjust to support individual needs (instead of the other way around). This can be accomplished at scale through tools that automatically personalize the tasks, workflows, and level of guidance based on the person using it. With varying levels of technology mastery, it’s also important to offer training so nobody feels left behind.

3. Connecting with colleagues

There are more ways than ever to help your workforce connect in today's hybrid environment. However, it's not the connection itself but how it's facilitated. Baby Boomers value face-to-face interactions and relationships are important as they connect with colleagues, even if they adopt technology at a high rate. On the other hand, younger generations who are immersed in technology don't mind using web conferencing, chat, or email to stay in touch.

Fostering connection will depend on what individual workers prefer and accommodating multi-generational interests will help everyone get along. It’s been proven that stronger social connections at work increase loyalty, creativity, and collaboration, and can even reduce the risk of significant health problems. Ultimately, what you do will contribute to the corporate culture and be embedded in the employee experience.

How technology can help

Modern HR solutions can help you support your multi-generational workforce. Oracle ME, part of Oracle Cloud HCM, can help you understand the needs and aspirations of every worker so you can design experiences that bring out the best in every person, including:

  • Oracle Connections: Enrich relationships in the workplace by helping people find colleagues, experts, and mentors and share interests and feedback.
  • Oracle HCM Communicate: Create targeted communications to shape your culture and drive behaviors that matter to your organization.
  • Oracle Journeys: Drive success by delivering step-by-step guidance to support employees through professional and personal workflows, such as onboarding, exploring career opportunities, or transferring to a new role.
  • Oracle Touchpoints: Provide a continuous engagement and action channel between employees and managers that create meaningful interactions.

Build an experience that spans generations

Support your multi-generational workforce with these insights and the technology to provide a better experience for all. Explore Oracle ME, the only complete employee experience platform that empowers talent to connect, grow, and thrive.

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Amy Lindsey

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Amy Lindsey is a product marketing leader for Oracle Cloud HCM.

Albert Qian

Content marketing manager for HCM

Albert Qian is the senior content marketing manager for the Oracle Cloud HCM Campaigns team and the editor-in-chief for this blog. He's passionate about telling the story of HR technology and how it can create better workforces.

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