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Your Most Engaged Employees are Not Who You Think

Gallup’s Employee Engagement Survey revealed Baby Boomers and Traditionalists are the most engaged generations in the workplace. 33% of Baby Boomers and 42% of Traditionalists report being actively engaged at work, compared to 29% of Millennials.

This increased engagement probably stems from the “winnowing effect." Engaged employees are more likely to delay retirement because they have better job situations. They are more likely to hold senior level positions, make more money, and be better at their jobs. The majority of CEOs are Baby Boomers or Traditionalists. These generations hold the majority of management positions in the U.S., despite being the minority of the workforce overall.

Companies should take advantage of this high generational engagement, particularly from employees who have long tenure and a wealth of experience.

How can companies capitalize on and keep their most engaged and experienced employees at work?

Conduct holistic reviews


Baby Boomers and Traditionalists have probably had opportunities to offer their feedback before. So instead, conduct longer, more holistic reviews to find out about their growth and experience with the company. Ask what they love about the company, what they would change, and how they have seen it grow during their tenure. Find out what strategies they think were most significant for their success and growth. They may offer a new perspective.

Offer flexibility


Working a full-time schedule can become more challenging for employees as they age. Allowing high-performing yet older Baby Boomers and Traditionalists to work part-time or to set their own hours can keep them happier and more productive than demanding 40 hours a week from them.

Provide great benefits


There’s no perfect package when it comes to benefits, but as these generations age, they are likely looking to stay at a company offering benefits such as: a defined contribution plan, a matching 401k plan, family medical insurance, or medical coverage options for part-time employees. 

Tap into their network


More seasoned employees have likely spent years developing professional relationships. Encourage Baby Boomers and Traditionalists to share their Rolodexes with younger employees to start building more connections for the company. Host networking or client events targeted to older generations, and have each older employee bring several contacts to introduce to the company.

Make them corporate grandparents


Corporate grandparents play a different role than mentors; they focus on passing on the company’s values and vision to employees a level below their direct reports. They can help these employees look at the bigger picture, for the company and for their careers. Pair successful Baby Boomers and Traditionalists with employees two levels below them, and encourage the Baby Boomers to share lessons they’ve learned, why they love their work, and what they envision for the company’s future.

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