Date: April 1, 2009

News - Managing the Challenge of Generational Mixes in the Workplace

Values can collide when members of different generations work together. Having a better understanding of others can make the working environment more productive. Generations generally represented in today's society include Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Nexters or Generation Y 


Traditionalists are War Babies or Veterans, who are now older than 55. Their values are influenced by the experiences of their parents whose values go back to the 1800s. This generation experienced the Great Depression and World War II both of which shape how they view the world. Face to face or written communication is preferred. 


The Baby Boomers make up the largest percentage of the population today according to U.S. Census statistics. Boomers consist of people currently between the ages of 37-55 (born between 1946-1964). This generation represents the children of our World War II veterans. They did not go through economically hard times as their parents did, they had the good life - the Traditionalists wanted them to have the best and as a result, the "Me" decade arrived. 


The Generation Xers are people in the 25-36 age groups (born between 1965-1980). This generation is economically conservative, unlike their predecessors; they will not rely on institutions for their long-term security. They prefer informal communication styles – they use email as a primary communication tool. Ask them for their feedback and provide them with regular feedback. Share information with them on a regular basis and strive to keep them in the loop. 


Nexters or Generation Y, represent people age 7-24 (born between 1981 and 2000). Generation Y represents people who have grown up during the high tech revolution. They have never known a world without high speed video games, speed dial and ATMs. The secret to motivating this group is to provide systematic and frequent feedback - as it happens. They prefer email communication.
Managers need to become aware of the many generational differences that exist in their workplaces and learn to effectively manage these employees or they will risk losing talent of any generation to companies that manage generational diversity more effectively.

Other news articles from April 2009