Don’t Just Hire Millennials, Think Multigenerational

When you combine the energy of youth and experienced professionals, the results could be ideal for your company.

With 55 million millennials now forming the biggest contingent in the U.S. workforce, it’s no wonder companies are clamoring for advice on how best to attract and retain members of the tech-savvy generation.

Related: 4 Ways Millennials and SENIORS Make the Dream Team

But it’s vital that you remember there are other folks in the workforce, too. Lots, actually. Generation X, at nearly 53 million strong, still has decades to be on the job (and so are actually much more likely to found a startup than millennials), and 44 million SENIORS are still turning up to work each day.

Building my very own startup, I’ve learned the hard way that millennial tunnel vision comes at a price. In early stages, our company, Nestio, was powered almost exclusively by youthful enthusiasm, Red Bull and adrenaline. It had been enough to get us off the bottom, as we launched a completely new platform for marketing and leasing apartments. But, eventually we hit a wall. The limits of our experience meant we were constantly reinventing the wheel as we worked to scale up.

We needed individuals who have been down this road before and knew the curves waiting ahead. For other startups fighting the same issues, here’s a glance at why thinking beyond your millennial box when hiring could make all of the difference.

The overlooked perks older employees bring

While millennial workers are energetic, hard-working digital natives, we all have been, myself included, tied to our insufficient time spent on THE WORLD. In a nutshell, we just don’t know very well what we don’t know. People who’ve seen the startup movie play out before — with both happy and not-so-happy endings — bring some key strengths to the table:

  • They are able to flag potential opportunities — and pitfalls: My very own blind spots arrived to sharp focus when our CFO, Scott Wolfgang, a Gen X’er, came up to speed. Not merely could Scott run circles around me when it found building financial plans, he helped me realize the potential danger to make even simple-seeming decisions. Take choosing software, for instance. It might look like a little detail, but making an incorrect move there can cost a company dearly in productivity and revenue. It’s not really a sexy topic, but confronting it with Scott’s help has saved me hours — months even — of headaches.
  • They don’t just have confidence in the vision, they learn how to get you there: There’s grounds Facebook tapped Gen X’er Sheryl Sandberg, 46, as COO, and Hootsuite founder Ryan Holmes stacked his leadership team with players lots of years his senior. Advancing your startup from Point A to Point B takes a lot more than effort and energy. Everything must be channeled in the proper direction. Veteran employees with an increase of years under their belts have a tendency to know which steps to try ensure you’ll meet that milestone that’s months and even years later on. Whether it’s coaching younger hires, delegating day-to-day tasks confidently or building internal systems that may scale, veteran employees’ capability to break down the picture as a whole into achievable chunks can be an invaluable skill.
  • They invest on a deeper level: To put it simply, more seasoned workers frequently have more to reduce than millennials. The Gen X’ers on my team have partners, mortgages and kids. For them, retirement is an obvious point coming, no abstract concept looming in a distant future. If the business goes bust, they can’t just crash on Mom’s couch, or backpack around Europe while looking forward to another job to come their way. And that reality shows in everything they do, from the questions they enquire about a risky move, to the actual fact that they’re much more likely to be accessible after hours or on weekends.

Challenges to a multigenerational workforce

It’s clear that experienced staffers bring tremendous value. But what’s often overlooked is that in addition they bring very different desires and needs in comparison to millennials. Ignoring those differences can cause serious issues, and getting this multigenerational dynamic right is not child’s play.

Related: 3 Reasons HR Must be Involved in Planning for a Business’s Strategy

According to a written report from the Incentive Research Foundation, different generations require different rewards and recognition at the job. While millennials are pleased to receive praise publicly by means of a shout-out at an organization meeting or a glowing Tweet, Gen X’ers I understand prefer praise to be delivered in a far more low-key way, like a simple thanks within an email or an exclusive conversation.

And, not surprisingly, while millennials are motivated by instantaneous and tangible perks — hence the stocked beer fridges and foosball tables which have end up being the norm in startup headquarters — veteran workers are more worried about substantive offerings. Endless craft beer doesn’t mean much to them in the event that you don’t have a decent medical health insurance package and a wholesome 401(k).

Then there’s the task of convincing more seasoned workers to become listed on a youth-driven startup to begin with. Even though many of our younger hires are bought in to the imagine revolutionizing the true estate space from day one, older associates often have to see some hard proof where we’re headed before getting up to speed. The hiring process for our CFO, CRO and VP of Sales — all Gen X’ers — was similar to a courtship. I had to build my relationship with them over months, as well as years, and earn their trust by giving the info that showed our company wasn’t nearly dreaming big, it had been with the capacity of delivering that dream.

Related: We Gave Millennials a Bad Name. It’s Time We Look into the mirror and Get rid of the Myths

Ultimately, the advantages of experiencing a multigenerational workforce vastly outweigh any challenges. I’ve seen a few of my youngest and oldest employees, with about twenty years separating them, get together to build new systems that simply wouldn’t have already been possible without that cross-generational exchange. When you’re able to harness the energy of youth and pair that with the perspective that is included with just a little experience, the email address details