Over the next few years, millions of baby boomers will retire from the workplace. These are the folks who were born in the post war era up to 1964, and they're beginning to wind down their careers. Many of these folks spent their entire working life in one or two positions, and may have only recently begun to work multiple jobs like Generation X and the millennials so easily do.
Also during the next few years, over one fourth of all the current millennial workers will enter management. These are highly significant changes that will have wide-reaching effects on the workplace. Here's what you should expect as the baby boomers begin their transition out of power.
The Impact of Baby Boomers' Retirement
While the Great Recession may have delayed the retirement plans of many boomers, employers have been preparing for a mass exodus of experience, skills and talent for years. Although the baby boomers haven't left in droves, there has been a steady flow of talent leaving the workplace. Since the youngest of the baby boomers are now turning fifty, it is only a matter of time before this entire generation has gone, taking their skills, knowledge and experience out of the work force.
Fortunately, there is still time for companies to bridge the talent gap. Over the next year a large percentage of millennial workers will be promoted to management. Many experts say companies will create intergenerational partnerships, with boomers taking on a coaching and mentoring role to transfer their skill set and knowledge to younger colleagues.
How Millennials Will Change Your Workplace
Millennials, or Americans who've been classified under the term Generation Y, are often characterized by their more flexible and fluid approach to work and home life. While baby boomers were most comfortable with traditional planning models in the workplace, millennials are generally more at ease with flexibility and unstructured workspaces. Millennial management is likely to encourage collaboration, partnerships and social connections. This is likely to be a positive change, as millennial decision makers seek to rebuild core business and strengthen companies to more ably weather fluctuations in the economy.
Generation Z Entering the Workplace
Generation Z, or those born from 1998 onwards, will be entering the workplace over the next few years and this will also have an impact on how companies approach their talent. Generation Z tends to value the importance of mentoring and appreciate predictability in the workforce.
They grew up with social media, smartphones and mobile Internet devices, and therefore are generally perceived as talented when it comes to online collaboration. They'll bring this talent to their work. However, this reliance on technology can mean that Generation Z may struggle with conflict resolution and face-to-face collaboration.
When Generation Z enters the workforce, management is likely to appreciate the technological advancements in existing systems that will accompany them. However, a need will be created for blending between face-to-face and online collaborations, to allow them to maximize their potential in the workplace.
Management and decision makers will need to spend the next few years studying younger employees to determine who has leadership potential. By determining the characteristics of the most successful baby boomers, companies can develop the insight to nurture talent in existing employees. Over the next decade, companies will need to transfer skills and knowledge of the baby boomers to their younger counterparts. This means industry leaders should cherish outgoing talent before it is lost from the marketplace.
Partnerships and collaborations will be one of the best ways to develop millennial managers and bridge the leadership gap. Companies looking to the future should encourage multi-generational collaboration to ensure they can tap the talent of the baby boomers and allow the Millennials and even Generation X to put on their own unique spin.