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BLOG | MAY 2023

Bridging the Expectations of a Multi-Generational Workforce

For the first time in history, there are four generations working alongside one another. The right workplace experience is vital to meet their varying needs.

Dr. Chesley Black
Vice President & Head of Workplace Management, Americas

Get to Know Your Multi-Gen Workforce

For the first time in history, the workforce spans four generations, each with unique expectations, values, and communication styles that must be understood for companies to remain successful at attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent. 

As of 2020, Baby Boomers (1946 - 1964) accounted for 19% of the US workforce, Generation X (1965 - 1980) 35%, Millennials (1981 - 1996) 39%, and Generation Z (1997 - 2012) 6%. 

Each generation holds different ideas about work and the role of the workplace. As a result, employers must understand that one size does not fit all and embrace a multifaceted approach to meet the varying needs of each cohort. 

Baby Boomers (1946 - 1964)

associated with Baby Boomers include optimism, competitiveness, a tendency toward workaholism, and being team oriented. Goal and deadline driven, they’re more motivated by collaboration and company loyalty. They prefer efficient communication styles including emails, phone calls, and face-to-face interactions

Post-Pandemic Workplace Expectations 

With 65% of Baby Boomers planning to work past 65, it’s important for employers to get this critical base of knowledge workers’ preferences right. Baby Boomers desire more private spaces when in the office and appreciate knowing technical support can assist them when needed. They’re also less eager to return to the office with 93% saying they’re equally or more productive at home.

Generation X (1965 - 1980)

Xers are adaptable, informal, skeptical, and independent. They’re motivated by flexibility, work-life balance, and personal development opportunities. They too prefer efficient communication styles, including emails, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings.


Post-Pandemic Workplace Expectations 

Gen Xers occupy 51% of leadership positions globally and value in-person connections. Anxious to return to the office, only 10% of this demographic surveyed in Unispace’s The Reluctant Returner: Creating a Multigenerational Workplace report said they favored working from home full time. To meet their needs, offices should facilitate casual collisions, quiet reflection spaces, and well-organized meeting environments to maximize the value of time spent onsite

Millennials (1981 - 1996)

Millennials tend to be competitive, open-minded, and achievement oriented. They’re motivated by unique work experiences and inspiring leaders, valuing both flexibility and autonomy. Unlike their predecessors, they prefer communicating via email, text, or instant messages (IMs)

Post-Pandemic Workplace Expectations 

By 2025, this cohort will account for 75% of the global workforce, making it critical for employers to understand their viewpoint and workplace preferences. Millennials are value-focused and desire to be part of an organization that aligns with their core beliefs. 77% surveyed also said they would rather spend money on an experience versus a possession, with 50% pointing to experiences and amenities as critical for pride in their organization.

Generation Z (1997 - 2012)

Z possesses a global view, a progressive mindset, an entrepreneurial spirit, and are self-directedbut they also tend to be less focused than other generations. Zoomers value independence and individuality, work-life balance, and prefer younger leadership and innovative companies that invest in leading technologies. Their ideal methods of communication are texts, IMs, and social media. 

Post-Pandemic Workplace Expectations 

Gen Z expects employers to offer flexible and remote options that value work-life balance. Tethered to technology, this demographic expects sophisticated workplaces bolstered by technology for convenience and efficiency. While they appreciate the social and networking benefits of in-person work, Gen Z prefers the hybrid model, driving the trend of working from "third spaces like cafes, bars, and even pubs, with roughly 10% preferring to work from a third space.

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Delivering on Multi-Gen Workplace Expectations

Engineering a suitable setting for a cross-generational workforce requires an integrated approach based around three critical environments—company culture, the physical workspace, and technology—to create an optimal experience that enhances each employee’s time spent onsite.  

Company Culture  


Company culture is becoming increasingly important for employees, especially younger generations. For that reason, it’s imperative that employees feel a company’s values through strategic initiatives, interactions, and experiences that spark innovation and evoke a sense of belonging. 

One aspect of activating company culture comes from Workplace Experience Managers. These dedicated professionals create high-level engagement opportunities through value-added activities and curated events for the well-being and enjoyment of all employees, clients, and visitors.  

Physical Workspace  

Strategic office layouts are vital for meeting employees’ needs for choice, comfort, and wellness. If done right, the workplace offers opportunities for collaboration, casual collisions, and focus, creating a stress-free environment that meets the needs of cross-generational preferences.  

Vibrant work environments with the right space configuration support creativity, innovation, and engagement to energize teams and boost productivity. 


Effective use of workplace technology is the thread that ties everything together, keeping employees connected, productive, and informed. It enables flexible and remote work options, supports a seamless onsite experience, and heightens employee satisfaction. 

Technology plays an important role for all four generations, but especially for Millennials and Zoomers, who may become disengaged without access to smart tech.  

Leveraging the Workplace 

Our post-pandemic, cross-generational workforce has its own set of ideas and expectations around work. By uncovering and delivering on preferences and leveraging the workplace as a strategic tool to drive engagement, productivity, and well-being, companies can future proof for talent acquisition and retention while also boosting employee pride in the process.


Dr. Chesley Black

Vice President & Head of Workplace Management, Americas Region

Degrees: Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership, MS in IT, BS in Business Administration