Nowadays companies find themselves handling four generations of American workers. Each group has its own distinctive characteristics, ethics, and approaches toward work based on its generation’s life experiences. Let’s take a look at the four generations in the workplace and how they interact with one another.
The first set, veterans. These folks are born between 1925 and 1946. Baby boomers are born between 1946 and 1964. Generation X-er’s are born between 1965 and 1980. Generation Y’s or millennials are born after 1980. As these four generations collide in the workplace, companies can no longer abide by traditional rules of leadership and management in order to stop the generational collisions from happening. Managers and leaders must first understand each of these four groups, and in more detail.
Veterans are considered among the most loyal workers. They are highly dedicated. But they are very conservative, and not willing to take risks. Baby boomers are reaching the traditional retirement age, while many are continuing to work well into their 60s and 70s. They are the first generation to vigorously proclaim a higher priority for work over personal life.
Generation X, so-called slackers, are responsible for creating the work-life balance model. This generation of workers hold strong technical skills, and is much more independent than the prior generations. Millennials focus on company values, and they like to feel that they have a sense of purpose and are contributing to a greater goal. They bring new skills and ideas to the workplace.
The goal is bringing people together and giving them opportunities to share their knowledge, without frustrating one another. A big source of frustration for senior staff is the showing off attitude perceived by the youngsters, as they demonstrate their extensive technical skills and knowledge on technology openly. Younger generations are expecting seniors to coach and mentor them, and not so much supervise.
Seniors, on the other hand, can be seen by the former as entitled and overconfident due to the many years of experience that the younger generation lacks. The key to finding a solution to frustration at the workplace is that corporations embrace diversity among the different generations and build a flexible work atmosphere. This way they’re both benefiting from their knowledge and experience, creating a more cohesive and peaceful workplace.
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