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How Technology Engages a Multigenerational Workforce, Part 1 Printer friendly format
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Many workplaces today are in the unprecedented position of having five generations working together, side-by-side.

technologyWhile the exact definition of each generation my vary slightly, any office or workplace today could include members from the traditionalists (born 1927-1945), baby boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), millennials/Generation Y (1981-1996) and Generation Z (those born in 1997 or later).

While most would agree that generalizations like generational buckets are helpful only to a point, multigenerational workforces challenge employers to meet a broad range of needs and expectations. Making the matter more complicated: Typical full-time and part-time positions are now being augmented with gig economy roles such as freelance, contract and temporary employment options.

When you pair this complex and diverse workforce with the growing competition to attract and retain top talent, it’s easy to see why culture and work environment have become a key focus for employers looking to gain a strategic advantage.
 
The price of a disengaged workforce
 
According to Deloitte University Press’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report, “employee engagement is a headline issue throughout business and HR.” Fully 85 percent of survey respondents ranked engagement as a top priority, yet only 46 percent reported that they were prepared to address engagement challenges.
 
For all the attention being paid to the topic, employee engagement has remained fairly static, at around 30 percent since 2014, and has not experienced large year-over-year improvements in Gallup’s 15-year history of measuring and tracking the metric.
 
In fact, according to Gallup, almost 20 percent of U.S. workers are “actively disengaged” employees, those likely to undermine coworkers and sabotage projects. Perhaps worse, most U.S. workers—51 percent—continue to fall in the “not engaged” category. While these employees do not typically negatively affect business performance, they tend to do the minimum asked of them and are not likely to go the extra mile for clients or customers.
 
Overall, Gallup reports that disengagement costs the U.S. around $500 billion annually.
 
How technology can help
 
Clearly, disengagement is too big and costly a problem to ignore. Smart human capital management (HCM) technology can help organizations create compelling work environments that make employees feel valued and treated fairly so they will give that extra discretionary effort to the organization—regardless of their generation, employment status or position.
 
In our next article, we will share three areas where good HCM technology strategy and implementation can make a real difference.