As employers face the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, Human Resource and Talent Acquisition efforts are being scrutinized in ways like never before. Now, more than ever, we need to evaluate the landscape of our workforce and consider making changes and adjustments that will encourage culture strength, internal growth, and employee loyalty.

Having a keen understanding of the differences between the generations present in today’s Workforce is something all Human Resources and Operations Managers can benefit from. Becoming familiar with the core differences between each generation will be essential as we reevaluate and adjust our talent acquisition, hiring and retention practices.

Meet the Generations:

There were 4 generations still working in 2019. With Generation Z graduating college and entering the workforce, the landscape is quickly shifting to a 5-generation span for 2020.


This level of social differentiation paired with a National Pandemic will affect how employers recruit and retain talent. It will be imperative to adjust to new tactics that reflect compassion and understanding of the new environmental circumstances.

Applying What We know:

Milliken & Company serves as a great example of how to take this valuable information and apply it to their business. Milliken’s Director of Learning and Development, Ottilia Scanlon, takes the need to understand the generational differences in our workplace very seriously. Scanlon and her team have worked hard to study and research each generation and have used their findings to develop employee training models for current and incoming employees.

“Milliken has seen the importance and need for this type of training. We believe that equipping our employees with the knowledge of how to effectively work together is imperative to having a cohesive and healthy work culture.” Said Mrs. Scanlon during a presentation at a Greenville Society of Human Resources lunch meeting.

With such vast differences among our employees, we have an obligation to equip our leaders and managers with ways to work with and cultivate a multi-generational workforce.

Here are some more ways companies can apply this information:

  • Consider reevaluating certain procedures or making them more customized. One example is employee reviews. Each generation handles feedback and recognition differently. It is important to understand what works best for each generation and how to make these effective growing tools instead of a reason for an employee to leave.
  • Reevaluating the work environment/structure. This is especially crucial to think through as we face this pandemic. With many employees forced to work from home, employers will be faced with even more resistance to a full time, in office work week and will have to get creative to retain and attract the younger generations.
  • Take some time to evaluate the leadership within your organization. Consider training opportunities that can equip your leaders on how to effectively manage different generations.
    • Local leadership expert, Chris Stoecklein, says “a strong leader helps people regain traction during distraction.” If leaders are distracted and confused about what’s going on around them, then they cannot effectively lead their teams or departments.
  • Use this time to refresh your organizations values and goals. Be sure that they are something employees will stand behind and will be proud to represent. Allow your marketing teams to get creative in promoting the things that make your organization unique.

This is a great time to get creative and think outside the box. Take this opportunity to research and to gain a clear understanding of what motivates and excites each generation and use that to your advantage. When business stabilizes, companies will have an opportunity to hire candidates that were untouchable before. Be sure you are doing what it takes to not only get their attention but to retain them long term.

About the Author: Brandi Stone is an Executive Recruiter that assists Manufacturers with Talent Acquisition from strategy to hire.  In addition to recruiting, Brandi also offers Career Coaching services, to include: Resume Assistance, Career Planning, Portfolio Building and more.

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