The dimension “Age” – also called “Generations” – plays a major role for organisations in Germany, specifically because of demographic change.
Mixed-age teams: Team members of different ages are important for organisations so that they have continuing access to different knowledge and experience – today and in the future. For example, many organisations with teams or departments that are of similar composition in terms of age have employees who will leave the organisation in the next few years due to retirement. A sufficient number of younger employees who could take on valuable knowledge and experience are not available, however. Special mentoring or knowledge transfer programmes are frequently deployed to counteract a loss of knowledge.
Employability and work-life balance: Good working conditions and development opportunities are important to encourage employees to remain in the workforce until their retirement. What is also crucial is employees’ willingness to embark on lifelong learning and their own personal further development. At the same time, programmes for work-life balance – such as flexible working hours and conditions – are gaining in significance. To maintain employability as long as possible, health programmes can be offered that are tailored to different generations’ needs.
Generational diversity: In mixed-age teams there is always the challenge of bringing together differing values and attitudes at work. The generation that is currently entering the labour market (“Generation Y” or “millennials”), has different views, living habits and priorities than, for instance, the generation that will be facing retirement next (“baby boomer” generation). What is required here are managers who create a mutually appreciative and motivating working environment for all age groups.