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The employee experience: Emphasis in each generation

Apr 02, 2020
By: Julia A. Johnson
The employee experience: Emphasis in each generation

Customer experience. Fan experience. Employee experience. Everywhere you turn there is an emphasis on the “experience.”

Working in human resources, I often engage in conversations with like-minded professionals to explore and discuss how can we structure the growth, development, opportunities and work environment for our employees in an effort to attract, motivate and retain. In short, in this tumultuous employment landscape, it is no small challenge and a significant feat to achieve retention of our associates. Even the words “associate,” “team member” and “colleague” change the perspective of the employer-employee experience. 

For a number of years, our millennial generation has taken it on the chin. They have not been cast in a very favorable light — at all — and it is time for that to end. Yes, they bring a different dynamic to the workplace. Yes, their expectations are different from the prior generations. Yes, we are directing a great deal of time and resources to create an experience that appeals to them. Yes, we are redefining how and where work gets done. Yes, yes, yes! And yes, we need them. With more than 10,000 baby boomers stepping into retirement each day, let me emphasize once again — we need them.

We need them engaged, we need them challenged, we need them to see career paths, we need them wanting to stay with our organization— working with our teams and serving our customers. The oldest millennial is now 38 or 39 years of age, depending on your reference resource. They are no longer wet behind the ears. Being the largest percentage of the workforce, they outnumber both baby boomers and Gen Xers.

My advice to all — get over it!

Every generation brings something unique and novel to the workplace. And that novelty brings disruption, a disruption that can often spark new thinking, new approaches, new energy. I have the great privilege of working with some outstanding millennials, and I do mean outstanding millennial team members — big shout out to Andrea, Jacob, Keya and Bre! I never cease to be amazed by what they bring to the table.  

Our challenge, like yours, is to create an environment that contributes to the overall employee experience. Like all generations who came before that changed our employee experience, we thank you. Thank you, traditionalists, for showing us the power of loyalty and working together to achieve great things. Thank you, boomers, for challenging employers to offer benefits beyond catastrophic medical benefits. Thank you, Gen Xers, for bringing the entrepreneurial spirt and casual days to the workplace. Thank you, millennials, for bringing alternative work environments and use of social platforms to connect with our customers and each other. And thank you, Gen Z, for what is to come tomorrow.

And yes, we are focusing on this generation. And yes, we are catering to their requests to create the employee experience that appeals to them. And you have to admit — they are getting the job done!

Author(s)

Julia A. Johnson
Director, Organizational Performance
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