Onboarding Multi generations

Why is Onboarding Essential?

The objective of onboarding is to ease people into their new jobs to enable them to become valuable members of the team in ideally a short period.

“Organisations with a common onboarding process encounter a 54% increase in their new hire productivity, along with a 50% increase in retention.”

Onboarding Across the Generations

Today’s workforce contains multiple generations working side by side. This article will focus on Generation Z, Generation X, baby boomers, and millennials. As individuals, your workforce will have different learning preferences based on their work style, level of experience, and learning styles.

Bear in mind that older millennials may now be managers while Gen X-ers and younger boomers may be trying to reinvent themselves in new careers. Furthermore planning to onboard Gen Z will allow you to be prepared for when they enter the workforce.

What onboarding strategies need to be put in place to ensure a generationally diversified workforce is successful individually and as part of the team?

Let’s look at who the generations are and how they operate.

Baby Boomers

baby boomers onboarding multigenerational

Baby boomers are recognised as those brought into this world between 1946 and 1964, entering into life between the post-war and civil rights periods. They commenced their occupations between about 1964 and 1980 when rigid gender roles were just beginning to disappear

What is their experience?

They have held more than one job throughout a career spanning greater than thirty years. They have witnessed onboarding and training evolve from binders and classroom instruction to online and app-centric.

They could be somewhat stuck within their ways. However, don’t create that supposition

How do baby boomers learn?

These people are generally process-focused and take a lot of written notes. Don’t be surprised to hear “at my old company” on more than a few occasions. Instead of rejecting this, find common elements that enable you to make comparisons. They could be cautious about technologies, or they can embrace it. The best way to know is to inquire. You’ll need to understand their measure of comfort with technology to recognise how to move forward.

Best practice: Match them with a mentor of the same age group who they will find a degree of comfort with.

Generation X

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Gen Xers were born from 1964 to 1982, an era ranging from the Vietnam war to the rise of disco. They started their first jobs in a post-recession economy and observed first hand the development and growing dependence on technology, such as the pc and mobile devices. They will likely have gone through a binder-based onboarding or two, but this may make them a lot more willing to adopt current technological innovations. Gen Xers tend to be individual, so self-directed training may be the way to go.

Also, they are very likely to enjoy a hands-on experience. That could mean supplying limited training, then providing the opportunity have a go on their own.

Best practice: Point them to a contact person and any necessary references, and chances are you won’t hear from them again until their work is complete.


Millenials onboarding multigenerational

Are born between 1983 and 2001, the oldest millennials are among the management ranks at many businesses. By the time they joined the workforce, the tech boom had gone bust, and the economic downturn was imminent

What is their experience?

Their parents have been heavily committed to their accomplishment since birth, so they are used to near-constant feedback. Provide them with regular feedback to keep them happy and on track. Don’t overthink it. “Nice work” or “that data goes in column B” is plenty.

How do millennials learn?

Millennials have been fully immersed in technology, since birth. They expect training to get right to the point and be available on demand. This generation is not going to value memorisation of information as previous generations might, considering anything they must know is just a few mouse clicks away. They desire their work to have meaning, so their onboarding should include an introduction to the company mission and goals and how their work plays a role in accomplishing them. They are comfortable with switching jobs frequently and look to develop a portable skillset.

Best practice: Make training mobile-friendly. Millennials often blur the lines between work and home and might be perfectly happy to run through onboarding training on a mobile device while sitting on the couch or riding the train.

Generation Z

onboarding multigenerational gen z

Individuals in Generation Z were born between 1995 and 2010. The oldest of them are just entering the workforce, while the youngest are considering their choices.

What is their experience?

Individuals Gen Z were youngsters during the recession and may have observed their parents struggle with job loss. This has made them more entrepreneurial, recognising the need for multiple income streams and alternate educational routes.

How does Generation Z learn?

They are highly motivated and independent, making self-directed training a natural fit. While it may seem counterintuitive to an employer, access to training that builds transferable skills may keep them engaged for a more extended period. They understand the requirement to stay relevant in a fast-shifting work environment. They may get into the workforce earlier, opting to skip costly typical university degrees in favour of online or other alternative training. While they have never known a time without Wi-Fi and smartphones, they value in-person connection.

Best practice: Carry out regular face-to-face meetings either in person or via a video conferencing platform to update them on their performance and progress in personal development.

Bridging the Divide

bridge onboarding multigenerational

Different generations within a company have more shared interests than different ones. You must focus on those commonalities so the entire team can work together toward common goals. Each generation brings a unique viewpoint to the table. Creating a multigenerational onboarding program can be challenging. It’s important to find commonalities, starting with the shared goals of your business.

The most effective programs will likely be those that take a multipronged approach, combining hands-on training, cutting-edge technology and hard copy guides

For any generation, mentors are usually welcome as are one-on-one interactions. Schedule regular check-in meetings or coffee chats to ensure the new hire is engaged and on track.

Welcoming Diversity


The power of hiring people from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives can’t be overstated.

Prepare current employees for how the addition of new hires can transform the dynamic of the team. Set an expectation that the new hire is welcomed and, inclusivity is the responsibility for every individual in the organisation.

Assure new team members they are welcome by conversing a clear policy of inclusion, not only to people but to the whole business.

Show recruits each individual’s place in the organisation and how they interconnect with the rest of the firm.

Onboarding should make it apparent to new employees that diversity and inclusion are crucial to the company as a whole and that differing opinions are welcomed.

Increasing Employee Engagement and Retention

To improve retention and productivity, it’s essential to concentrate on retention strategies from the first day.

Nearly half of new workers leave within the first 18 months; half of those are within the first 45 days. Strong hiring and a detailed onboarding program are necessary for reducing your newest hires from becoming one of these statistics.

According to a study by the Society of Human Resources, new employees that participated in a structured orientation program were 69% more likely to stay at a company for up to three years. Onboarding programs further increase engagement and performance.

Do you need help building a great onboarding program? Contact Beagle HR today