If convenience retailers are perplexed by the generational gap in today’s workforce, that gap will only widen in the coming years.
The topic of disparity among the generations was an early topic at the M-PACT 2017 show in Indianapolis. During an educational session entitled, “Three Generations, One Team,” cultural differences between baby boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials were explained in an overview, which included some recommendations for how companies can better address such generational differences.
Matt Thornhill, managing partner of the Institute for Tomorrow, a Richmond, Va.-based data research firm, said population figures are shifting: seemingly up and up.
UP AND UP
Today, according to Thornhill, Millennials account for 26% of the U.S. workforce. That percentage is expected to jump to 46% by 2025. However, with baby boomers retiring and the overall population growth in the U.S. slowing, the need for young, capable workers in all retail channels will be at a premium in the next seven to 10 years.
In other words, the competition for eligible workers will intensify.
“There’s going to be a battle for younger workers,” Thornhill said.
Comparably, by 2030, the country will have 60% more people over the age of 65 than now.
Of course, baby boomers are still alive and contributing in today’s workforce, as are individuals who fall into the Gen X category—those born between 1965-1982. Thornhill explained to suitable recruit, reward and retain workers from all three generational periods, employers must have a sense of how each fosters different cultural sensibilities. For example, boomers are optimistic and driven, while Gen Xers are self-reliant, computer literate and independent.
Contrastingly, Millennials are self-confident, like to share experiences on social media, are hyper-collaborative and embrace the concept of community.
Some tools that c-stores can create to better engage Millennial–age workers include:
- DIY Rewards and Recognition, in which employees can choose their on-the-job rewards from a menu-type system;
- Communication audits to determine the degree of effective communication between management and workers; and
- Creating “Get to Know Me” profiles of employees on the company’s website.
M-PACT 2017 ends today, April 20.