The Five Generations

So what do we know about the different generations now and do we understand how it impacts the workplace?

In total there are five generations now, with most organisations having 4 generations based in their organisation, and with people living longer and working longer as the pension age increases we will start to see five generations soon in the workplace.  There is a real difference that we need to understand to engage and manage.  We need to understand the types of workforce behaviours and attitudes, what will engage each generation and what tools and practices they will require to interact.  This creates a challenge from engagement to Management to HR.

Traditionalists – born 1930 – 1946.  Generally, businesses do not have many of these people but nevertheless, there are some.  This generation tends to be very loyal to the business and hard working, believing in a chain of command style management.  They will feel that their decades of experience have merited them respect and appreciate being treated in that way, by peers and managers.  This group have buckets of experience and knowledge and are useful in training younger, less-experienced employees.

Baby Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964.  This generation tended to work in jobs that provided stability and a long service.  In this generation “work-life balance” wasn’t as important as it is now and they often exhibit signs of a “workaholic”.  This generation like stability and a strong retirement plan, particularly with it looming.  This generation has similar qualities to the Traditionalist group, as in, very loyal and hardworking.  Baby boomers tend to associate work and status with their self-worth so enjoy challenging projects and team working.  This generation is good as a role model for others with their strong work ethos, their face-to-face communication abilities, and their overall work experience.

Generation X – born 1965 – 1980.  Usually babies of the Baby Boomers.  Tend to have tech knowledge – would generally have a computer but not as we now know it.  Google was about but not used much.  So technology was evolving and changing.  This generation tends to want upward career mobility and lots of independence.  They like to be left to work within their skill sets to reach goals and get jobs done.  They have a steady work outlook but are not loyal to any business.  The business has to earn the loyalty and it shouldn’t be expected.

This generation tend not to like a command management chain although they will generally have a good working relationship with management.  This group can be very creative. This group’s aim is for a better/work life balance and believes if work can be carried out at home, then the business should provide the flexibility to enable that to happen.  This generation was the first to confront the expectations of working life and pushed to change things.  They also believe in supporting the community – looking for the business to support charities, allow volunteer work and being eco-friendly.  This group appreciates rewards based on individual performance and like to get individual training opportunities.  This generation promotes independence.  They work owning their responsibilities and they communicate across the business.

Generation Y or known as the Millennials – born after 1980.  This generation grew up in a high-tech world.  Schools had computers, people had laptops and it was a phenomenon not to have technology.  This generation is tech-dependent.  This generation wants bright, modern technology and they tend to want to work in a role that has some meaning or social impact.  Millennials are not impressed with job titles or statuses and therefore respect is earned by performance and value.  Out of the four generations, this group is the least loyal.  So if other better opportunities are available they will take them.  Millennials are more likely to take a job if it fits their lifestyle than if it pays well.  This generation has always had phones and computers and therefore wants continual communications with Managers and colleagues.  Additionally, they expect transparency in the business.  They expect feedback constantly, training opportunities and quick gratification. Their view on employment is that it’s simply a means to an end.

The Millennials are excellent multi-taskers and extremely tech savvy. This is useful in motivating other generation groups.

Generation Z – This generation was born in the late 1990s’ or early 2000’s.  So generally not yet established in great numbers in the workplace.   However, we do need to consider their needs for the future, as they will make up a large proportion of the population.  This generation has always had access to the internet and google   They get the bulk of their news from social media and generally they can gain stardom very easily.  This group has always had technology such as smartphones, tablets, and PCs.  Because of the economic ups and downs they’ve seen in their lives already, they’re likely to save money, avoiding debt.  This generation wants to improve the world and they’re educated, hard-working and work together.  They are unlikely to settle for a 9 to 5 job.

So now you know a bit more about the differences between each generation, consider how you can incorporate this into how you manage your employees to get the best out of them. 

I’m always happy to have an informal chat to see where The People Mentor can help you with your employees and teams. I can be contacted on 07766010942.


Take care





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