What should employers consider when recruiting from different generations?

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Employers should have a firm understanding of what is important and valued by each of these generations when establishing their recruiting plan. It may help to determine whether potential candidates will accept or reject positions within the organization. Successful recruiting must take into consideration not only the positions that are available, but the types of people that are needed to fill those positions. Employee retention may be significantly increased if there is an effective hire.

Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) greatly value loyalty, financial security, stability and a positive work ethic. Members of this group will generally seek a company that has a long standing in the community with a positive financial future. Such an organization will offer them the ability to contribute to the organization while reaching back and mentoring the other generations. To retain Baby Boomers who currently work for the company, the employer must show these employees that it cares about their careers, their body of knowledge and the impact and contributions that they make to the organization.

Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) are typically well-positioned within their careers and find value in organizations that are stable, provide flexibility to define work arrangements (such as telecommuting), offer child care and elder care benefits, and promote work/life balance that allows these employees to enjoy life now instead of waiting for retirement. Money, stocks, incentive plans and benefits are all attractors for this group.

When trying to attract to your organization the Generation Y employees (those born between 1980 and 2000), consider that this generation values being recognized for their individual contributions within a team. They generally look for work that is productive and meaningful—not grunt work; leading-edge, innovative technology that supports their current usage of information sharing; the ability to receive continuing education; the opportunity to voice opinions on workplace situations; and workplace flexibility in scheduling, dress/attire and work arrangements. Although members of this group are not seeking longevity/tenure with a particular company, they do want meaningful positions that will provide advantages to assist them in advancing to the next levels in their career.

With all of these differences to consider, the recruiting effort is a challenging one. Pay and benefits—although basic recruiting tools—are not the only resources that will attract and retain employees.