What does rapper Lil’ Nas X and country music legend Billy Ray Cyrus have in common?
Outside of sharing a track on one of the hottest songs in 2019, not much. Without mentioning inherent beliefs and cultural issues, there are clear differences in sexual preference, race and age, but that didn’t stop the two of them from working together — and quite frankly, their collaboration resembles the new American labor force.
Welcome to Old Town Road — the new business strategy.
Old Town Road
The majority of Baby Boomers (U.S. adults born between 1946-1964) are still in the labor force, and the oldest among them remain in the workforce at the highest annual rate for people their age.. In 2018, 29 percent of Boomers ages 65-72 were working or looking for work according to a Pew Research Center analysis.
Among the generations, Millennials make up the largest portion of the workforce as 56 million members are either working or looking for work. Next, Generation X adds 53 million to the workforce, followed by Baby Boomers at 41 million.
Today, there could be as many as four or five generations, spanning 40 years, all working within the same company at any given time. Along with age, there are differences in cultural beliefs and work ethics that can create diverse differences in the workplace.
There is another generation in the midst of creating its lane in the labor force.
Generation Z, coined as the most racially diverse generation to date, has been defined as conscientious, determined, independent and competitive. They were raised in the middle of the digital age with a technological savvy that is seemingly second nature for them.
While the age gap could be seen as problematic because of generational differences and stereotypes, there are positives simmering in the generational melting pot.
So, what does this mean for companies and hiring mangers? They have to find a way to blend the workforce together, creating a productive environment across the board. For the most part, workplace tension has kept each generation in their lane on the old town road.
Mutual, cross-generational mentorships will put your employees in a position that requires them to learn how to effectively communicate and collaborate with each other. Before long, creative thinking and innovation can unknowingly transform an organization.
Until Old Town Road, Lil’ Nas X had never ventured into the country music genre. He was new to the country "workforce." Not having much experience, he used his innovation and creativity and a seasoned Baby Boomer recognized his skills and took him under his wing. And so it goes for the apex of a blended workforce.
Old Town Road employer benefits:
• Save resources on continual learning programs
• Prevent employment gaps because of the loss of talent
• Eliminate production continuity and succession planning due to retiring Baby Boomers
• Support a workforce culture that creates engagement, that may just spread out into our society at large
Top of The Business Charts
Proactivity with your efforts to crossfunctionally connect each generation is key. Rearrange desks, create social gatherings and encourage mentorship (like buddy programs) upon new hire orientation.
Lockheed Martin’s Critical Skills Management Program is a good example of how to utilize senior employees with younger generational groups.
“We realized that we had senior people who were very technically expert in our complex systems, were known to our customers, and would be eligible to retire in a few years,” said Tory Burno, president of Lockheed Martin’s strategic missile defense systems unit. “We need to identify this knowledge and find ways to successfully transfer it.”
Younger generations, coupled with the knowledgeable Boomers and Gen Xers, could be the prerequisite for a new mix of workforce engagement.
So, let’s take our workhorse to the New Town Road and ride until we can’t no more.