By David Blackburn, Chief People Officer, Financial Services Compensation Scheme
2020 marks not only the start of a New Year with all its usual anxiety, expectation and resolutions, many I’m sure already broken, but a new decade. It’s likely to be a decade unlike any other because by 2020, for the first time in human history, there will be more people on our planet over the age of 65 than under 5 – more grandparents than grandchildren.
Two major trends are driving our ageing world. First, we are living longer: in the twentieth century, average life expectancy increased by 30 years in most developed countries because of better nutrition, sanitation and medical advances. The second reason is our declining birth rate: in 1964 the average woman had just over 5 children (something that would be exceptional today); in 2015 she had only 2.5. The world is becoming an older one, faster than almost anyone anticipated.
So, the multi-generational workforce is arriving at your organisation soon – if indeed it hasn’t already. At the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), our employees age range is now 18 to 72 which means we’ve got Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y – also known as Millennials – and Generation Z all within an organisation of 200 people!
Baby Boomers are often considered the “…workaholic…” generation. Generation X by contrast is widely credited for creating the concept of work/life balance and for shunning micro-management in the workplace. Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are already the largest group at work and will make up three-quarters of the global workforce by 2025: only half way into our new decade. Generation Z are the first to grow up in a world that is completely wireless.
Different aspirations, different characteristics, different leadership styles and different ways of communicating – so many differences! Whatever the differences, it is crucially important that we do not embrace stereotypes. Younger employees might think that the older generations are inflexible technophobes, whilst the older generations might perceive Generations Y and Z as spoilt, job-hopping kids, surgically attached to their smartphones. But these stereotypes are little more than sweeping generalisations and are not conducive to helping people to work together.
Because there are many ways that organisations – large and small – can benefit from embracing generational diversity in the workplace. Employees and members from different generations can offer unique perspectives and bring different strengths to the table.
Having a multigenerational workforce can be very beneficial when it comes to identifying potential solutions and new ways of addressing day-to-day issues. They will all understand different audiences helping you to shape and target your communications. Across generations, employees can teach each other new ways of working and more efficient ways of doing business and it’s the perfect environment for mentoring: fresh thinking coupled with experience can produce highly effective teams and outcomes.
I know all of this to be true because we’ve pro-actively worked at FSCS to increase age diversity; to attract mature talent; to create a truly inclusive environment where everyone can succeed whatever their generation – which means we’re in the Top 50 Most Inclusive Employers in the UK today and as we go into our third decade (2020 is also our 20th birthday), we’re delivering our best ever performance.
So, let’s embrace age diversity and all celebrate our multi-generational decade!
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is the official 2020 memcom membership excellence awards Headline Partner. The FSCS are also kindly sponsoring this year’s Best Equality, Diversity or Inclusion Campaign and the Louis Armstrong CEO Leadership Award. These annual awards celebrate the success of professional bodies, trade associations, membership charities and other not-for-profit membership organisations and we thank the FSCS for their continued support in helping to build and strengthen the memcom awards.
Did you know that memcom has grown over the last 20 years, and provides recruitment and consultancy services to the membership sector? Reach out to us for senior appointments, non-profit consulting, HR consulting, business & management consulting or project management services for your membership organisation. Email Executive Director, Julian Smith in the first instance.