MetLife’s Multi-Generational Workforce

I recently completed a meeting with 200 of the top HR executives at MetLife, one of the most successful and sustainable global insurance companies.  MetLife’s Vice-President of People, Deb Capolarello, is developing an integrated talent management strategy to help the organization integrate all its well-established HR processes into business solutions. 

One of the problems MetLife faces, a problem similar to most older global companies, is the rapid change in workforce demographics.  To give you a sense of the challenge, today at MetLife 14% of its workforce are Millenials (20’s) and 35% are Generation-Xers (late 20’s to early 30’s).  This transition is continuing to change quickly – with as many as 23% of the company’s employees eligible for retirement in 5 years and 40% in 10 years.

This workforce population is very common in large organizations today – HR must serve the needs of four generations:  Millenials, Generation X workers, Baby Boomers, and the Traditional or Silent Generation.  Organizations like MetLife are working hard to build learning and HR processes that appeal to these younger workers, including virtual workplaces, online community tools, flexible work hours, and career planning programs.  Most importantly of all, organizations must identify these talent profiles across the organization and create business-specific solutions – some organizations at MetLife are more than 80% young workers, and others are still dominated by older workers.

Bottom line .. the multi-generational workforce is changing much of what HR will do:  how learning is developed, how careers are managed, how managers coach employees, how employees interact with each other, and most of all, how HR and other internal systems are used.