Three Overlooked Areas for Engaging Employees Across Generations

One of the most consistent observations I have witnessed in my consulting work is the difficulty of engaging employees across generations. Tackling this challenge is critical for increasing competitiveness and growth, and particularly for increasing cross-generational camaraderie and synergy in the legal and judicial field. Today I will walk through three key areas that, if overlooked, will result in missed opportunities for engaging and supporting multigenerational legal workforces.

1. Succession Planning

Did you know that approximately 10,000 individuals of the Baby Boomer generation (born 1946–1964) retire every day? What a striking statistic! We are thus in the midst of a massive transition as Baby Boomers pass the torch on to Gen X (born 1965–1979) and Millennial (born 1980–1995) leaders, and if an organization isn’t prepared for that transference of leadership, then they will lose out on valuable knowledge acquired by the Baby Boomer generation. One survey even found “that only 57 percent of the aging workforce has transferred less than half of their knowledge to the incoming one, with 21percent yet to do so”—so what can we do to address this looming issue?

Fortunately, a simple solution presents itself: to nip this concern in the bud, an organization must clearly document the responsibilities associated with every position as well as develop and implement a detailed succession plan to ensure this transition goes smoothly. The reality is that “only 26 percent of legal departments have a succession plan in place,” making this gap a crucial first step to address. Additionally, teams should consider offering upskilling and knowledge transfer programs that focus on mentorship and job shadowing not just as employees reach retirement but throughout their career. Flexible work environments can also be beneficial, allowing employees of the Baby Boomer generations to transition to part-time and/or hourly work before fully retiring and thus helping ensure all of their knowledge is preserved for future generations of leadership.

2. Adapt and Retain

Millennials are the largest percentage of the U.S. workforce as of 2024, and that dominance is only expected to increase in years to come, as they are projected to compose almost 45 percent of the workforce by 2030. Some estimates place that percentage as high as 75 percent, but I think they’re lumping in Gen Z (born 1996-2012)—the newest generation to enter the workforce—who are estimated to make up 30 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2030. More on Gen Z soon!

With this shift in workforce percentages is a shift in workplace culture, and many Millennials do not thrive in environments identical to what worked best for Baby Boomers and Gen X. So, what steps can organizations take to ensure they’re retaining Millennial workers in the face of Baby Boomer retirement?

One key area of focus is technology—Millennials not only witnessed but came to adulthood in the technical transition of the 21st century, and as such “[l]egal department leaders should take advantage of millennials’ tech-savviness as emerging technologies continue to change the practice of law.” In other words, allow Millennials to weigh in workflow software (e.g., to automate manual processes), engage them in conversations about AI and the law, and so on and so forth—encourage their lifetime of expertise!

Other strategies to implement to retain Millennial workers are allowing for variable work hours to accommodate and reflect Millennials’ desired emphasis on work-life balance and taking the time to customize feedback options based on how Millennial workers prefer to proceed. Some may be content with annual performance reviews, while others may want more consistent guidance and advice!

3. The New Generation

As aforementioned, Gen Z is predicted to compose 30 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2030; in other words, nearly a third of our workers will be in their 30s and younger, taking the world by storm. Engaging and retaining Gen Z requires a different—though not dissimilar—approach to retaining Millennials: perhaps above all else, Gen Z are focused and determined to make a difference in the world. They are motivated by a sense of safety, security, and social conscientiousness, and if an employer offers that environment, they are ready to stay. So, what steps can the legal world take to embrace the energy of Gen Z?

For one, Gen Z is “the most racially and ethnically diverse generation” yet, and Gen Z has no patience for lip-service diversity. They want to see inclusive hiring practices at work, from diversity in promotional materials to their interview panels.

Student loan debt is no joke, and law school is particularly expensive, so one surefire way to attract Gen Z employees is a competitive salary and comprehensive health insurance. Building tuition reimbursement into positions is also a positive look for Gen Z, who are more likely to stick around at a department they feel is invested in their career and well-being—helping them address the unjust burden of debt saddled onto them is a crucial way to demonstrate that investment.

FInally, Gen Z craves meaningful feedback. Teams can thus develop and integrate a culture of feedback, where focusing on an individual’s performance and regularly providing them with both praise and constructive comments reinforces the value Gen Z offers.

Again: a major generational shift is happening. Teams across industries must adapt to the changing workforce to avoid missed opportunities. After all, when their employees thrive—young and old alike—so do the organizations!


Dima Ghawi is the founder of a global talent development company with a primary mission for advancing individuals in leadership. Through keynote speeches, training programs, and executive coaching, She has empowered thousands of professionals across the globe to expand their leadership potential. In addition, she provides guidance to business executives to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and to implement a multiyear plan for advancing quality leaders from within the organization. Reach her at and