For the first time in history, four generations make up today’s workforce. Working side by side with generational differences can be a management nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. While the 50-year age difference between a businesses’ youngest and oldest employee may seem like an unbridgeable gap, the truth is that a stable and long-lasting bridge can be built, as well as make a positive dent on company culture.
To correctly and effectively manage these different generations under one roof, it’s important to know the values, behaviors and motivations that each of the age groups possess. To start our series off about multigenerational management, we’ll first examine these differences. The four generations that make up today’s workforce are as follows:
Traditionalists – Born between 1927 and 1945
Baby Boomers – Born between 1946 and 1964
Generation X – Born between 1965 and early 1980s
Millennials – Born between early 1980s and 1996
Unfortunately, due to an upsetting economy, 5% of today’s workforce is made up of this older generation that typically would have been happily retired. Because this generation was raised during the Depression, they are hard workers, incredibly loyal and disciplined; most of them typically only work for one to two employers over their lifetime.
Differing from younger generations, Traditionalists value in-person conversation and don’t mind sitting through long meetings and lectures with only a white board for a visual aid. The key to management of Traditionalists is to be real and communicate directly to them about any problems or changes.
This generation is made up of your typical “American Dream” employees. They are in their 40s and 50s, well-established in their careers and hold high leadership and management positions. Being born post-World War II, Baby Boomers carry the loyal trait from their parents as well as a focused work ethic and cynical attitude. Like the great American Dream, Baby Boomers will associate money, status and long hours with success and commitment. Giving Baby Boomers high responsibility, perks, recognition and rewards will motivate this generation.
There are approximately 50 million Gen Xers currently in the workforce. Witnessing the layoffs and burnout of their parents, this generation pushes hard for a work/life balance that makes family a priority and a career second. While incredibly ambitious and hardworking, Gen Xers value a flexible schedule or even the option of working from home. Proper management requires a hands-off approach that lets them prove their abilities and keeps them challenged.
This generation is by far the biggest in today’s workforce at 70 million strong. Mostly in their 20s, Millennials are creative, eager, technology-oriented and enthusiastic about making a difference in the world. While loyalty to a company is not a priority, Millennials yearn for personal growth, fun challenges, a positive environment and work perks such as free coffee, high-tech gadgets, flexibility and unique company culture.
Check in next week for our continued series to learn about how to manage these different generations in the workplace.
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About Josephine’s Professional Staffing
Founded in 1988, Josephine’s Professional Staffing has nearly 25 years of business success and is continuously committed to providing superior quality staffing solutions to companies in the Bay Area. We proactively and consistently search for avenues to provide staffing solutions in the field of administrative, accounting, healthcare, light industrial, technical and professional services while taking pride in each of our employees. Josephine’s Professional Staffing is a Certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (UDBE), and MinorityWoman-Owned Business Enterprise (MWOBE). We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408.943.0111 and are located at 2158 Ringwood Avenue, San Jose, CA 95131