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Top Tips for Managing the Multi-Generational Firm

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Satisfied senior businessman showing growing chart at his happy colleagues in office

Law firms are facing many challenges during these changing times – from remote working due to the Covid pandemic, to keeping up with advances in AI, but one of the most prevalent issues for firms is learning to successfully manage the multi-generational law firm that has evolved over recent years.

This diversity that is present within many firms, is partly due to the extended working age (it is now common to have employees who work well into their seventies) but also due to the seismic shifts which have occurred where technology and working practises are concerned over the last few decades.

For instance, it is now common to have all the following generational cohorts within one small firm;

• The Silent Generation or Traditionalists– those born between 1928 and 1945 are now in their late 70s but there are those among them that are still working. They have generally climbed the corporate ladder, thrive on hard work, and have had to adapt to vast shifts in technology

• Baby Boomers – born 1946 to 1964, this generation came into itself after the Second World War and coined the term ‘workaholic’. They are a large demographic cohort due to increased birth rates after the war. They are highly committed to their work and have often stayed with the same firm since leaving education

• Generation X – also known as Gen X were born between 1965 and 1980. They grew up within a downturn of birth rates and often had both parents working outside of the home. Because of this, they tend to be independent, flexible, highly-educated and value a good work/life balance

• Millennials – born between 1981 and 1996 also known as Generation Y, they tend to have a flexible approach to work which means they thrive on experience and teamwork but tend to be less independent than Gen X. They expect to progress quickly through the ranks, but rely on regular feedback and constructive criticism. They are adaptable, flexible and tech savvy having grown up during a time of rapid technological change

• Generation Z – Gen Z or Zoomers were born between 1997 and 2010 and are considered to be ‘digital natives’ having grown up with the internet and digital technology. They are the most diverse, highly educated and rule-abiding generation to date. Some consider them to be ‘socially awkward’ and timid due to their lack of previous work experience

So, how do you manage such a diverse, varied and multi-generational workforce?



1. Know your Team (and the demographics)

Knowledge is crucial to effectively managing your team, so find out more about them; their age, working preferences, family responsibilities, cultural upbringing, and so on, in a bid to form a clearer picture of how diverse your team is and see trends emerge within this.

Consider how generational preferences will affect how employees prefer to communicate, if they require flexible working practises, or where they see their career heading.

It is also worth providing training for managers so they fully integrate multi-generational working procedures into the organisation and can learn to adapt their methods to suit a multitude of diverse age ranges.



2. Encourage Diversity and Inclusion

Age is just one element of this and firms should be working towards encouraging a diverse and inclusive workplace as it has many benefits.

It is also an opportunity for employees to learn from each other.

Many younger team members (particularly Millennials and Gen Z) value working as part of a wider team and can help to show the older generations how effective and productive working as part of a team can really be.

Similarly, those who fall within the Gen X and Baby Boomers classification are likely to be more independent and could support the Gen Z and Millennials in becoming more autonomous.

Use the diverse nature of your team to create a supportive setting which encourages collaborative working by using mentoring, team projects and employee engagement.




3. Appreciate Difference

While we have listed some of the qualities of each generation above, it is vital that we don’t make assumptions about an employee just because of their age.

For instance, not every Baby Boomer will be considering retirement in the next ten years and not every Gen Z shies away from face-to-face communication.

However, it is worth learning to appreciate the difference that each individual can bring to the team and trying to accommodate the personal needs and aspirations of every member.

Consider factors such as, familial responsibility, flexibility, financial need and career choices, and aim to facilitate personal aspirations and needs where possible as employees will be more inclined to be flexible in return.

They will value the unique approach that your firm offers them and the opportunity they have to be flexible in their approach to work.


Flexibility is essential when managing multi-generational firms and consideration should be shown to all employees, regardless of age, gender, race or religion.

Segregation should be avoided so that opportunities to work together, and learn together, are increased and actively sought.


For more information regarding managing the multi-generational team, you can view our dedicated training course here, or contact us for more information.