The terms ‘Millennials’ and the ‘Aging Workforce’ are now frequently used to describe particular groups within the workplace, but is it useful to segment our workforce into such categories?
To develop a sustainable wellbeing programme, it’s almost impossible not to group your employees. Categorising a workforce, is one way to help ensure that wellbeing interventions are targeted and effective.
Businesses shouldn’t fall victim of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
We are seeing a rapid increase in mental health awareness and training requirements within the workplace, but with a shift and growth in focus towards the preventative measure of building resilience.
Today’s working environment is a changing landscape and we design and develop wellbeing programmes and initiatives that encompass this movement.
When considering employees’ wellbeing, these two extreme groups mentioned, face very different pressures and challenges and are driven by separate incentives. But we are now recognising a third group, who are in danger of being overlooked and unsupported – those who sit in the middle.
Millennials are leading the way, making themselves heard and creating a new working culture. It’s fast paced, tech heavy and demanding, but emphasis is also directed to their important work life balance and this age bracket is keen to set firm working boundaries.
As Millennials start to become managers and leaders, we will see a further shift in the working landscape, as businesses shape up and continue to drive forward at pace – there’s no time to sit on a tradition.
Employee support is high on the agenda and there’s an expectation that their needs should be met. And, it appears these demands are being met, reflected within the upsurge in interest around mental health awareness and wellbeing, across all industry sectors, as well as within government initiatives.
But organisations should be careful that the right interventions are being put in place, and a considered wellbeing strategy drawn up to identify and address the genuine requirements.
On the flip side, our Aging Workforce are finding that their needs have changed, pressures on their life may have evolved and with retirement in sight (albeit no longer looking as attractive as it did 10/20 years ago), perhaps their motivation is beginning to dwindle.
Employers are beginning to address this group, offering a more specific wellbeing support, such as financial wellbeing provision, or a leniency towards more time off as they find them caring for partners or relatives or struggling with their own health.
This all goes a long way towards keeping their motivation strong, but a specific strategy would be more constructive.
Employers have an opportunity to draw on this group’s wisdom and industry knowledge, shape their roles to support them through the changing working environment, keep them engaged and above all show them that they are valued. Their knowledge base and expertise shouldn’t be lost, but harnessed.
So, what of this mid-group – caught in a pinch point – they are not Millennials but not yet in the aging workforce? This group is perhaps the most vulnerable.
They are working at a faster pace, taking on board and adapting to the technological advances, flexing their work patterns; not only keeping up, but possibility over-committing and allowing their strong work ethos to override their boundaries and impact heavily on their wellbeing.
They are in danger of just being left to manage, as focus is given to those who shout the loudest or appear the most susceptible.
Considering Each Group:
Careful consideration must be given to each group to be able to evaluate the whole picture and effectively support employees across an organisation.
We measure resilience with our Wraw psychometric tool which identifies resilience and its impact on workplace wellbeing. Measured against our validated 5-Pillars model – energy, future focus, inner drive, flexible thinking and strong relationships – Wraw results can drill down into the subscales of each pillar and pinpoint areas which are most constructive or inhibitive to an employee’s wellbeing and ability to thrive at work.
Results suggest that these three groups have very distinct areas of strength and limitation, which once recognised, can help employers to plan and direct their wellbeing interventions in a more targeted manner, instead of applying one standard approach.
I will stress, that there are so many other ways to target distinct groups within a workforce and this is only one example. We can offer strategic advice on the development and design of a wellbeing programme, professionally delivered interventions, reinforced by our measurement tools.
About the Author
Sam Fuller is CEO of the Wellbeing Project which was founded in 2007 and is a global consultancy delivering bespoke performance, wellbeing and resilience projects and programmes into businesses of all scale. The Wellbeing Project works with organisations to make it as easy as possible to create a culture of wellbeing where employees excel and businesses thrive. Offering wellbeing audits and strategic planning, along with a variety of coaching, training and development programmes, ranging from comprehensive modular programmes to interactive, bitesize bursts of knowledge with practical takeaways, tools and techniques. With over 10 years of experience and insight into the wellbeing arena, The Wellbeing Project is trusted and respected by business owners and industry associations.