If there ever is a group of people of all ages and types who make connections and friendships with everyone regardless of age or generation gaps, they are Perennials. Commonly belonging to age 55 and above and are an evergreen group of people who remain curious, hardworking, updated, and hence relevant despite their advancing age. They are quite energetic, switched on, and employable. They represent the best of both worlds, i.e., hard-working and loyal like the Boomers and curious and tech-savvy like the Millenials. Unlike the younger generations, perennials pay attention to company values and tend to stay loyal to their ethos while millennials jump and change jobs frequently to satisfy their intellectual curiosity and if paid more. Perennials also pride themselves on being savvy, from pop culture through to the latest gadgets, you will find hardly any knowledge gap between Perennials and Millennials.
Various researches have also shown that concerning views on work, Millennials and Generations X, Y, and Z are not very far apart as feared. To understand our workforce and develop our talent strategies, we should look beyond group differences and gather insights on individual employees’ interests, values, and aspirations. This also enables us to personalize how we manage people as HR professionals.
Perennials are a challenge to the old stereotype of “Old Age”. They prove the age-old saying, “Age is just number.” Old age or senility is just the body running out of vitality. There will indeed be some physical deteriorations as we grow old, but modern humans tend to live longer thanks to advancements in modern medicine. Historically speaking, whenever a company has faced a crisis or a financial recession, the go-to move of the management is to get rid of the senior employees in the workforce, inducing fear into the workforce down the line, especially among the younger employees. These decisions essentially ignore the the amount of experience and wisdom those older generations bring to the table and how it increases productivity among the junior staff. Nevertheless, times have changed with the awareness of the existence of perennials; employers have to reconsider their strategies for the betterment of the organizations. Perennials are tech-savvy and updated in every way to the current times and grasp knowledge easily. Advancements in technology have also proven useful to them and this keeps them relevant at the workplace. If you are a retired 55+-year-old trying to return to the corporate world, one challenge you will face is that the world has changed too much for your liking. Perennials, though they easily grasp the latest expertise, some of them can still find it difficult to adapt.
Overcoming related HR Challenges
Now, it is not that hiring, onboarding, and retaining perennials is bereft of challenges. For instance, they may develop physical issues associated with aging such as loss of hearing. These challenges and the need to stay up-to-date with changing technology can become more demanding but employers must look beyond these physical attributes to the bulk of experiences they can bring to the table. HR professionals of today have to look for options and ways to engage them for the benefit of the organization.
While the younger generation might prefer swanky offices, perennials prefer to focus on finding the right approach for the project at hand. They are also more likely to prefer work-from-home options so that they can avoid the daily commute. This route will also be beneficial for those with mobility issues. We have already looked into work-from-home and workplace flexibility options before.
The idea here is not to hire every other boomer that comes your way. Employers have to look at how capable they are physically as well. However, it is more important to see if their mind still works for their benefit. Think of it like Robert De Niro in “The Intern”. If you have not watched it, it is a movie about a 70-year old widower who realizes that retirement does not suit him and decides to go back to work and apply for the position of Senior Intern at an online fashion store. The fact is that Perennials can be a great addition to the workplace even though they might need some training to help them adapt to the workplace of today’s age. There is so much we can learn from a generation that has made their mistakes and learned from them. The reason why history repeats itself is that we fail to learn from our past and choose to ignore the great benefits of engaging with those who have been there and done that.