The current workforce is more diverse than it’s ever been, and the wants of each generation of workers are "vastly different," Christy Tunnell, nutrition and dietetics instructor at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., noted at the Association for Healthcare Foodservice's annual conference. Although millennials might be the biggest slice in the workforce pie chart, it’s important not to neglect the other four generations in the mix. Speaking at the conference, HR experts sounded off on ways to give staff what they want while creating—and keeping—a multigenerational workforce.
Do your homework
In order to become an attractive place to work, operators must first learn what different generations want—which can be as simple as listening to their employees. “For boomers, staying 30 years in an organization makes them a superstar,” Tunnell said. “Millennials are a superstar if they change every five years. Train yourself on how to connect with each group.”
Brand recruitment materials
When building a recruitment strategy, it’s important to incorporate the brand’s mission and values. Young candidates are doing their homework and have far more access to information than ever before, said Mark Spinelli, area director of human resources for Hyatt Hotels. “Your organization has to have conversations about what your strategy looks like and how your purpose comes across,” he noted.
Gaye Grossi, senior director of talent acquisition at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, said she and her team added caring to their brand’s values, appealing to workers across the age spectrum and giving them legs to stand on during the recruiting process.
Ditch stuffy, stat-heavy orientations
Instead of information overload, Spinelli uses the majority of orientation time to make sure new hires understand the company’s purpose and branding. He takes an hour out of the orientation for new employees to mingle with the whole team. Tunnell agrees with a dynamic approach, saying trial by fire will always be more effective than something non-interactive. “If you have to show them a video, then show them a video, but then get them up and do something with them,” she said.
Take nontraditional paths
To craft a diverse workforce, step outside of the same old job boards and consider going out into the community to find recruitment partners. “The chambers bring in amazing candidates from colleges,” Grossi said. She also teams up with a job training academy that works on-site with new employees with disabilities.
Forge mentor-mentee relationships
Part of retaining a multigenerational workforce is ensuring that there is synergy across the age groups. Tunnell suggests having some sort of mentor and mentee program where millennials and baby boomers are paired together. “They think differently, and when paired together, can grow together,” she said.