Understanding generational differences, and how to create a happier working environment for tomorrow


3 min read

Understanding generational differences, and how to create a happier working environment for tomorrow

Thomas Dibble

Feb 2, 2024


    The Shift Towards Retention – Forward by Planday CEO, Dave Lee

    The hospitality industry is facing some of its most turbulent times, ever. And with a shifting professional demographic, the needs of our staff are changing too. But, at an industry level, we’re lagging behind. Which is leading to high levels of staff turnover, and an inability to get great people in in the first place.

    That’s why we commissioned The Shift Towards Retention. It’s a snapshot of the state of staffing in the industry, right here and right now. While it doesn’t claim to have all the answers, the insights inside can help you understand what it is your staff want and need, and help you come up with ideas of how you can make a better working environment for everyone.

    In article one, we explored what affects employees’ happiness at work. Then, we took a deep dive into the hospitality industry’s mental health epidemic and outlined why clear career paths are a must. In the last article, we examined why short term planning could be holding your business back in the long run.

    In this final extract, we’re going to look at the generational differences and see what we can do to get more Gen Z employees on our teams (and sticking around).

    Don’t forget; this is just a slither of what’s available in the full report. Download The Shift Towards Retention for free to get the full story.

    Understanding generational differences 

    If they are to attract new, younger talent, managers must also pay close attention to generational differences. For example, 52% of Gen Z workers wouldn’t recommend a career in hospitality due to a lack of control over shifts, compared to only 39% for Millennials and Gen X workers. Similarly, Gen Z workers put a greater focus on long-term careers, with 39% wanting clearer career progression in their roles, compared to just 24% of Gen X and 28% of Millennials. This means managers will need to spend more time with younger workers to ensure they understand what skills they should be developing, and what steps will take them to the next level. 

    Businesses that fail to accept these generational changes will be punished by younger workers, as they are willing to switch jobs to get what they want. In fact, 57% of Gen Z employees are planning to leave their current job in the immediate future, compared with 44% of Gen X and 17% of Baby Boomers.

    Food for thought
    57% of Gen Z employees plan to leave their current job in the immediate future

    While 85% of Baby Boomers feel valued in their role, this drops to just 49% for Gen Z employees. And only 52% of Millennials and 47% of Gen X think they are valued at work. This is reflected in the benefits packages on offer, with 67% of Baby Boomers happy with what’s on offer and only 49% of Gen Z satisfied with their current package. Sadly, it seems this is unlikely to change soon, as 44% of Gen Z employees think their boss listens to them, compared with 72% of Baby Boomers.

    Despite young workers aged 16-24 making up around half of the hospitality workforce, many businesses overlook their needs, and focus on a minority of older employees who may be in more senior positions. This means hospitality businesses need to change how they plan and operate shifts. They also need to develop programmes to manage employees’ long-term career goals in the sector if they want to attract the best talent available.

    What hospitality bosses can do today to create happier working environments tomorrow

    Something in hospitality has to shift. Retaining teams is a more efficient and economic strategy than hiring new. As we have seen, retention does not just need better compensation. Feeling valued through career progression, mental wellbeing and a better work/life balance, rates almost as highly as pay. Which is great news for an industry struggling with costs.

    What practical actions can businesses take that will really shift the dial on their retention? 

    Improve mental wellbeing support

    85% of respondents having suffered with mental health problems in the past 12 months, but only 24% have access to support in the workplace. Free resources and help is available from The Burnt Chef as well as a 24/7 helpline. They also have a sentiment diagnostic tool that will allow you to assess your organisational risks and associated costs.

    Create progression plans for all employees

    71% of people who feel they lack appropriate guidance to reach the next level plan to leave their role in the immediate future. In an industry which is promoting younger, less experienced employees, it’s vital they receive one-to-one coaching and training. Planday’s resource centre contains various articles from experts in the industry including how to effectively train and retain staff.

    Plan rosters further ahead

    68% of employees have considered switching to another industry due to lack of planning, yet 69% only get a week or less notice of their next shift. Such a small change in approach could positively impact half of all employee lives in terms of time with loved ones, hobbies, exercise and mental wellbeing.

    Use technology to work across generations

    68% of employees state that they would make regular use of a mobile app that allows them to make shift changes and stay on top of their rota and pay. Such technology would also free up managers to take care of the other recommendations in this report.

    Download The Shift Towards Retention here

    Ready for the full insights? Then get The Shift Towards Retention and start turning the tables on staff turnover today.

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