that are also responsible for driving the well-being agenda at Dr.
Martens, including a focus on mental health. Dr. Martens has
become one of a number of organizations that has created mental
health first responders to support the mental wellness of employees
in much the same way traditional first responders do physically.
“We have a lot of millennials in the organization and I think
they’re the people that talk about it much more. They’re much
better at sharing when it comes to mental health. I think some
of us slightly older ones don’t talk about it as much as perhaps
we should. So, I think it’s been great to see that mental health
isn’t a taboo subject in this organization and I think a lot of
that has come from the millennials – they’ve done a great job of
raising the profile,” said Helen Verwoert, global HR director at
It’s true that millennials also face some unique pressures. Today,
many adults take care of both their children and their parents.
These adults are known as “the sandwich generation” because their
needs often become caught, or sandwiched, between those of the
older and younger generations. Members of the sandwich generation
are typically between 35 and 60 years old. They frequently
struggle to meet the many needs of their children and aging parents
at a time when they are also busy working and planning their own
futures. Many of those people say that they provide financial assistance,
emotional help and practical assistance with daily activities.
As there are currently more millennials in the workforce than
there are Baby Boomers, they have many age peers to compete
with in the workplace. Like all younger workers, they want as
many training and growth opportunities as possible. Research suggests
that millennials (like the other generations) want to work for
organizations that respect individual differences, promote worklife
balance, pay well and are socially responsible.
This can make the workplace challenging. Matures, who have
established many of the norms in companies, may prefer the status
quo because it’s worked so well in the past. Baby Boomers,
who have had to compete for everything they’ve accomplished,
may not want to hand over projects that give them power and
influence. Gen Xers, who have proven their ability to handle large
assignments, may not want to pass those assignments on to others.
Millennials, who are still working to prove themselves, may
not want to give up the very leadership that will showcase what
they know. On the other hand – in general – people in positions
of authority have too much to do. In this case, there’s much to be
said about sharing experience and responsibilities across generations.
Sharing responsibility can bring a whole new perspective to
the project and build trust with co-workers.
Supporting each generation and their specific needs can be a
huge time constraint for management and bringing in an EAP
allows employers to assist individuals across all levels. As mentioned,
each generation requires different levels of support and
employers can pick and choose which elements will assist their
entire workforce. Whether that includes on-site counselling for
Matures or gamified apps to boost engagement by millennials. Age
gaps in the workplace is not a new concept, but now there is an
abundance of tools and options available to employers to properly
support each generation. n
Patrick Williams, LMFT, CEAP, is the clinical director of
LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell.
“WE HAVE A LOT OF MILLENNIALS IN THE ORGANIZATION AND I THINK THEY’RE THE PEOPLE THAT TALK
ABOUT IT MUCH MORE. THEY’RE MUCH BETTER AT SHARING WHEN IT COMES TO MENTAL HEALTH.”
– HELEN VERWOERT, DR. MARTENS
38 ❚ APRIL 2019 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL