Skip to main content

Mentoring & Managing Multi-Generations: 5 tips for employers

By March 1, 2012August 6th, 2019Uncategorized

Last month, our own VP, Donna Smith, was joined by Lauren Friese, Founder of, and Mandy Sutherland, Senior Consultant, Applied Research and Consulting at Steelcase to share insights and best practices around leveraging the strengths of multiple generations in the workplace.

The “Mentoring & Managing Multi-Generations” workshop took place at the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO)’s 55th Annual Conference and Showcase where members and other engaged professionals gathered to exchange information and learn from informative and forward-thinking presentations that are transferable to their respective communities and workplaces.

During her segment of the workshop, Donna offered five tips to employers looking to develop collaborative, complementary, and sustainable multi-generational workplaces:

  1. Find the “lost” generation: Gen X is often overlooked as a result of being sandwiched between the persistent presence of Baby Boomers and the impatient motivations of Gen Y. Leverage the knowledge and experience of Gen X workers by encouraging them to coach Gen Y workers. It’s a win-win situation: Gen Y get the support and guidance they need to develop professionally, while Gen X gain leadership and mentoring skills.
  2. Establish semi-formal task forces: Bridge generational gaps and impart knowledge by encouraging ongoing networking and professional development opportunities.
  3. Compensation packages based on generational priorities: Opt for flexible compensation/benefit packages that suit the needs of each generation. For example, Gen Y look for dental coverage for themselves, whereas Gen X prefer flex hours or child care for their kids, and Baby Boomers appreciate elder care for their parents.
  4. Understand what drives your employees and meet those needs both individually and as a group: Celebrate the different approaches of each generation, while staying focused on company objectives and project goals.
  5. Manage demographics – don’t just play to the biggest audience: Encourage projects that involve employees from different demographics. This goes beyond generational diversity; recognizing and celebrating differences in culture, gender, and ability all play into a healthy and productive workplace.

Addressing the needs of multiple generations

Furthermore, Donna suggests that the key to successfully implementing all of the above tips is having a clear and mutual understanding of how each generation – and their inherent diversity of culture, gender, and abilities – contribute to the overall business strategies and organizational fit.

We want to know what you’re doing to leverage the potential of each generation in the workplace! Share your tips with us by leaving a comment!