Story image

Kiwis embrace age-diverse workforces, but communication needs work

22 Aug 2018

The New Zealand Government predicts that a quarter of the country’s workforce will be aged 55 or older by 2020, and businesses will be able to reap those rewards.

Randstad’s latest Workmonitor research says that New Zealanders prefer age-diverse and multigenerational teams, which hints that age may not matter in the workplace anymore.

The research shows that 88% of 678 polled respondents say they prefer working as a multigenerational team (10-15 years age difference), while 83% say that businesses with age-diverse teams come up with more innovative ideas and solutions.

The most common sectors that embrace age diversity include general business (95%), education (95%), and construction (92%).

According to RiseSmart Australia and New Zealand’s executive practice director Nan Dow, many Kiwis are working in an environment that manages up to five generations of workers.

Dow says that a workforce culture that brings out the best across all generations can provide competitive advantage. This is because customers are diverse so an employee base that reflects that diversity can relate to customers’ needs.

“These generational differences are quite literally the ‘future of work’ and having such a rich and diverse talent pool can be a huge advantage for businesses. In order to create a positive culture that gets work done, businesses need to encourage employees to look beyond preconceived stereotypes and bias.”

More than half (56%) of Kiwis feel that younger employees have more opportunities for career progression than older workers, and 48% believe that the generations are treated differently by managers.

Chorus OD advisor Phillippa Powell explains that multigenerational collaboration is important for unlocking creativity and problem solving within projects.

“Having a diverse range of ages also helps us to relate to our customer base. Millennials and younger employees provide new skills and ideas which are essential in the telco industry as technology continues to evolve. Mature workers are also a highly skilled and valued group of people. Their substantial technical and specialist expertise means they can share knowledge and act as mentors for our younger workforce,” Powell explains.

The research also found that 86% of respondents say it doesn’t matter how old their direct manager is, as long as they are inspirational. 79% believe managers must be talented at working across generations, and 76% believes their manager cares about their career opportunities. However, 61% prefer that their manager is older than themselves.

Workplace communication still needs some work, with 18% of those aged between 18-34 having trouble communicating with workers who aren’t from their generation. Only 13% of those aged 45-67 had the same concerns.

“Our study found that 75 percent of Kiwis believe the way we communicate is one of the biggest differences within multi-generational workforces,” comments Randstad New Zealand country director Katherine Swan.

“An example of where we see this is during the recruitment process. Most people forget their target audience. Different demographics should be aware of contrasting communications styles that are expected and appropriate within the workplace, this includes different formats, media, regularity of communications and appropriate terminology.”

Swan says people can overcome these challenges by seeking advice from an industry expert or mentor who can review CVs and conduct mock interviews. This can help people to present themselves in an authentic and appropriate way.

Need the perfect flatmate? AI can help
A Kiwi entrepreneur has developed a flatmate-finding service called Mogeo, which is an algorithm that matches people to the perfect flatmates.
GoCardless to double A/NZ team by end of year
With a successful E round of investment and continuing organic growth globally, the debit network platform company aims to expand its local presence.
NZ’s Maori innovators are on the rise
“More iwi investors need to recognise that these sectors will provide the high-value jobs our children need."
Phone ringing? This biohack wants you to bite down and ChewIt
So your phone’s ringing, but instead of swiping right or pushing a Bluetooth button you bite down on a tiny piece of tech that sits in your mouth.
How big data can revolutionise NZ’s hospitals
Miya Precision is being used across 17 wards and the emergency department at Palmerston North Hospital.
Time's up, tax dodgers: Multinational tech firms may soon pay their dues
Multinational tech and digital services firms may no longer have a free tax pass to operate in New Zealand. 
Spark’s new IoT network reaches 98% of New Zealand
Spark is the first company to confirm the nationwide completion of a Cat-M1 network in New Zealand.
WhatsApp users warned to change voicemail PINs
Attackers are allegedly gaining access to users’ WhatsApp accounts by using the default voicemail PIN to access voice authentication codes.