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Let’s call out the elephant in the room – the corporations have been abuzz with talk of a new multi-generational workforce. From Baby Boomers to Generations X, Y, and, soon, Z –they are all planning to work for years to come.  According to AARP, by 2014 nearly one third of the total U.S. workforce (32 percent) will be age 50 or older. In addition, 8 of 10 Boomers plan to work at least part time during their retirement years, remaining a major part of the workplace for years to come. The Millennial (Gen Y) is also becoming the fastest growing generation at work, steadily growing to 25 percent. Lastly, generation X’ers are at the stage in their careers where they are assuming higher leadership roles.

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 11.54.13 PM.pngChances are that your team is comprised of employees with a wide range in age and working together can sometimes be a challenge. A new workforce has emerged and it’s only just beginning to develop.  Just when you start to think that your team’s generational gap might put your results at a disadvantage, leveraging one another’s strengths can have a powerhouse effect. A new generation of people and talent requires a new work environment. Organizations that embrace this new world will out-innovate the competition. Consider what retailers face today:

  • Retail is hyper competitive environment focused on anticipating and delivering on customer expectations – regardless of generation
  • Today’s stores have multiple generational working side by side – this won’t go away and will get even more extreme
  • Each associate contributes to the brand image in each interaction with customers, so consistency in training irrespective of age
  • Must effectively and efficiently communicate with and train this range of employees, and
  • Tailor training based on the store associate’s expertise, work area, and situational needs – not age

In a competitive environment like the Retail industry for example, organizations must be able to continue to anticipate and deliver on customer expectations – regardless of which generation they are marketing to. It’s critical for retailers to effectively communicate to a wide range of audiences. Each associate must contribute to the brand image with each interaction with the customer, irrespective of age.

Successfactors, An SAP Company, produced a report detailing how your organization can bridge the generation gap, and actually use it to your advantage by creating an “age-neutral” workplace. In order to build on the retail culture, SuccessFactors understands that organizations must:

  1. Build awareness about generational differences
  2. Attract a multigenerational workforce and deliver on individual needs
  3. Encourage growth and development through networking and mentoring
  4. Communicate in ways that motivate each generation.

To find out more on how to create and leverage an “age-neutral” workforce in your retail organization, visit This Best Practices white paper from SuccessFactors, an SAP company, which provides four key steps to successfully closing this generation gap on the HR landing page at SAP

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