5 min read

From Gen Z to Millennials: 3 Keys to Cultivating a Flourishing Multigenerational Workplace

From Gen Z to Millennials: 3 Keys to Cultivating a Flourishing Multigenerational Workplace

With a workforce age span of 50 years, understanding and engaging employees in different age groups is essential for mobilizing your team to achieve your mission.

The good news is that strategies to engage workers under 35 will also benefit those of different generations. The FLOURISH factors identified by Best Christian Workplaces are applicable to all employees. Inspirational Leadership, Life-Giving Work, Uplifting Growth, Healthy Communication, and more will create a healthy workplace for all your employees to thrive.

The recent State of the Christian Workplace report by Best Christian Workplaces noted employee engagement levels by age group. While the oldest age cohort (56+) had the highest level of employee engagement at 64%, the variation between other age groups was minimal. Overall employee engagement based on thousands of workers surveyed was 58%.

In the Road To Flourishing, Al Lopus, co-founder and board chair of Best Christian Workplaces, underscores the foundation of flourishing workplaces. “There are certain fundamentals about flourishing workplaces that persist through changing times. Grasping the keys to workplace performance and sustainability allows organizations to thrive as conditions evolve.”

As you focus on engaging younger workers who are shaping their careers, what are the foundational principles that create a shared culture? What practical steps are important in boosting employee engagement?

Creating a Culture that Values Younger Workers

Younger employees want to contribute in a positive way to their workplace from day 1 on the job. Inclusion is a key value. Employees want to feel a part of the whole and understand how their specific job links to the mission of the organization. A collaborative culture will help your younger staff see that their voices are important and that they belong to a bigger whole.

Transparency is another value for younger employees. They want to know that leaders have listened to a wide variety of input and that the views of their peers have been included in the decision-making process. This doesn’t mean everyone has to know every detail about decisions, but it does mean that senior leaders and middle managers are sincere about listening to and acting on the suggestions of their staff. This is especially important for decisions that impact the day-to-day activities of front-line workers.

Communication is key to reinforcing culture. Values and behaviors that reflect shared values should be regularly discussed and celebrated. This isn’t a once-a-year exercise, but regular communication that’s woven throughout the fabric of daily, weekly, and monthly rhythms. As a leader, you need to regularly connect your staff back to the mission and vision of the organization. If you’ve said it three times, then you need to say it three more times.

For example, one of the Ministry Partners I consult with has an employee value of joy. Joyful staff have an infectious spirit of positivity and maintain a can-do attitude. They look for joy in their job candidates and call it out on their teams regularly. By talking about joy as a defining characteristic, leaders reinforce this value in the selection of each staff member. This joyful environment also helps create a culture of grace between employees as they interact and even navigate conflict.

Leveraging technology is another way to ensure continuous and consistent communication. Tech-savvy younger workers are comfortable on a variety of platforms, but even they appreciate simplicity in communication. During the transition to remote work in the pandemic, platforms proliferated. Should communication be on Slack, Microsoft Teams, Trello, Asana, or another platform? What role do email and text have in communication and collaboration?

Clarity and training on communication norms will help each generation and also facilitate intergenerational connections. Whichever platforms you use, real-time updates on mission-based outcomes, changes, and the latest events will bond employees to the overall mission.

Even as we embrace technology for efficiency and connection, as Christians, we follow an incarnational God. Make room in your culture and habits for no-tech meetings and experiences where your staff can interact in real life. This is a basic human need for all generations, but especially for younger workers who are the most technologically connected and also experience a high degree of loneliness. Whether we are in a Christian-led business or a ministry setting, as followers of Jesus, we are called to incarnational living.

Specific Training for Younger Employees

  • Start with your interview and onboarding process to welcome and integrate younger workers into your culture. Get input from current employees who are under 35 to help shape your process to meet the needs of these workers. Remember that culture is more than just orienting someone to your policies and stated values, but that workplace culture includes the unwritten norms and patterns practiced by employees and teams.
  • Provide opportunities for growth for staff at all levels. Entry-level workers want to know that they will not be stuck in a role forever. After they have become proficient in their current role, consider stretch assignments and cross-training. For mid-level workers, exposure to new skills and lateral experiences increases their job satisfaction and gives them a vision for a growth path in your organization. Growth isn’t always vertical—lateral experiences will give workers a stronger sense of how different teams contribute to the overall mission of your organization.
  • Many organizations are now emphasizing training in soft skills to equip younger workers for success. These can include communication, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, and office etiquette. Such training reinforces the values and culture of your organization, while also providing practical tools for workers to incorporate in their day-to-day habits. 

Equipping Supervisors and Managers to Care for Younger Workers

The top two highest-scoring questions on the Employee Engagement Survey as reported in the recent State of the Christian Workplace report were “My supervisor cares about me as a person” (4.56 Raw Score, on a scale from 1 to 5) and “My supervisor helps me to solve work-related problems” (4.48 Raw Score).

Mental health and anxiety are issues for younger workers. Broaden access to resources by equipping supervisors to respond to the needs of their team in a holistic way. Younger workers may be more comfortable approaching their supervisor than going to HR for assistance. And while mental health issues may be voiced more frequently by younger workers, they may be experienced by anyone on your staff. Some generations have been conditioned to not seek help or keep these concerns out of their work life. Streamlined access to mental health support can have a positive impact on all the generations in your workplace.

In addition, supervisors provide a close context to know their staff and their individual needs both inside the workplace and in their life outside of work. As you make decisions about policies for work location and flexibility, engage front-line supervisors to help you understand how these policies will impact specific employees and their engagement and enthusiasm for work.

Supervisors, managers, and top leaders are all learning how to manage a hybrid workforce for full engagement and productivity. Along with specific training for all levels of leaders, a healthy workplace will feature cross-team idea-sharing about what is effective in engaging a hybrid workforce. Both formal training and informal networking can move your teams toward best practices in an evolving work environment.

Next Steps

Assess the health of your workplace and dive deeper into any differences by age categories. Best Christian Workplaces’ Employee Engagement Survey offers information specific to your organization and includes engagement scores by age group when there are enough people in a category to ensure anonymity.

If your organization currently has very few employees in the under 35 age group, consider ways that your culture and job opportunities could be more inviting to younger workers. Review the information shared in this article about inclusion, transparency, and communication to identify areas in which your workplace might become more balanced in age demographics. While there are challenges to working across generations, the rich input of people with different life experiences based on their age group can create a thriving environment for accomplishing your mission.



Biblical Foundations of Flourishing Leadership: Exploring the 8 FLOURISH Drivers

Biblical Foundations of Flourishing Leadership: Exploring the 8 FLOURISH Drivers

Before coming to Best Christian Workplaces, I worked with missionaries around the world training them as leaders to spread the Gospel. When talking...

Read More
The Heartbeat of a School: How Core Values Shape Culture and Performance

The Heartbeat of a School: How Core Values Shape Culture and Performance

Living out core values in the course of everyday organizational life provides a foundation for a flourishing workplace culture. Seeing evidence of...

Read More
Workplace Harmony Hacks: The 3 Key Moves for Building Bridges at Work

Workplace Harmony Hacks: The 3 Key Moves for Building Bridges at Work

When we conducted the Best Christian Workplaces Employee Engagement Survey for Bible League International, we found that employees gave the ministry...

Read More