Entering the multi-generational workforce era

outside of office

For the first time ever, the workplace will have five generations working together.

Of course, there are many reasons for this. People are working longer due to changes in the retirement age and pension legislation. There’s also the fact that as a nation; we are generally healthier, living longer and able to work longer. The number of women departing from the workforce at aged 70 years or more has doubled between 2012 and 2016.

There has also been a shift in priorities over the years. We no longer live in a world where people just want to work, bring up a family and retire. The priorities vary across different generations and as such, companies need to tailor what they offer so they retain their staff. This is almost impossible to manage without technology and this is the reason HR technology is becoming more widely used in organisations. 

So let’s take a look at each generation, and explore their expectations from HR technology…

Baby Boomers

The baby boomers are the generation who are reaching retirement age, mid-60s and onwards. Priorities are centred on pensions and benefits, as well as level of authority in the workplace. Baby boomers have a strong work ethic and commitment to their employers. With 91% of this generation using social media platforms – they are technology savvy, even if they may not have been immersed in technology throughout their working life. However, they have seen the introduction of technology, and seen many changes. They expect a lot from technology and are willing to learn.

Generation X

Generation X are those born between the 1960s and early 1980s and have seen both sides of the coin in terms of technology. This generation where the first to get their hands on mobile phones, and the first to be introduced to the internet. This means they’re adept in technology, but still enjoy face to face interactions and have a strong work ethic. They don’t expect anything to be given to them on a plate, but would still be inclined to want benefits such as flexible working. 


Millennials (also known as Gen Y) make up the majority of the workforce and are aged roughly between 20 and 35. This is the generation who were in the workplace when technology became more prominent and most will have been using it throughout their entire working life.  As a result, millennials are comfortable without much face-to-face communication, and are used to communication via technology, such as emails and video calls. They also expect better flexibility, such as the option to work from home. They tend to be hugely influential when it comes to implementing HR technology.

Generation Z

This is the generation just entering the workplace, and highly influential when it comes to the introduction of technology. Although this generation have been completely immersed in technology, and maybe because of this – they are more interested in face to face meetings and are not as heavily reliant in technology as other generations. However, they have high expectations with any technology which is implemented.

Types of HR technology

  • HRIS (human resources information system) tracks information related to payroll, salary and benefits, performance management. 
  • Talent management systems are particularly important for Millennials and Generation Z, as they have high expectations of the recruitment process.
  • Cloud-based technology enables greater flexibility and collaboration – anywhere and anytime. With Gen Y looking for greater flexibility and Gen Z seeking one to one communication, this will become increasingly prominent in the workplace.

In conclusion

Although businesses have the challenge of managing conflicting priorities, this can become much easier to manage through a combination of the right HR technology. It is an exciting time for HR and although challenging, a range of generations can bring variety to the workplace.