While dissecting the Millennial mindset is an oft-discussed topic, the fact is that each generation has its own unique set of attitudes and behaviors. For the first time in American history, the workplace comprises four distinct generations: the Silents, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennials. Each group’s outlook, attitudes, habits and expectations have been shaped by its collective set of experiences and backgrounds. If your organization reflects today’s multi-generational society, you’re facing an unprecedented challenge: How do you communicate with your increasingly diverse constituency?
A conversation about differences, whether generational, cultural, gender or otherwise, often includes the problems and challenges they create. Different perspectives always have the potential to foster creative problem solving and ignite energy. Evolve can assist your company with starting that conversation!
Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)
- Most populous generation typically grew up amid economic prosperity, suburban affluence and strong nuclear families with stay-at-home moms.
- Boomers tend to be optimistic, competitive, and focus on personal accomplishment. They work hard-maybe too hard. This is the generation that increased our workweek from 40 hours to 70 or 80 hours.
- This generation has ruled the workplace for years and is comfortable in the culture they’ve created. They view changes as sometimes painful but inevitable.
Generation X (born 1965-1976)
- Members of this generation grew up in a very different world than previous generations. Divorce and working moms created “latchkey” kids out of many in this generation.
- This generation expects immediate and ongoing feedback, and is equally comfortable giving feedback to others. Other traits include working well in multicultural settings, desire for some fun in the workplace, and a pragmatic approach to getting things done.
- Generation X saw their parents get laid off or face job insecurity. Many of them also entered the workplace in the early ’80s, when the economy was in a downturn. Because of these factors, they’ve redefined loyalty. Instead of remaining loyal to their company, they have a commitment to their work, to the team they work with and the boss they work for.
Millennials (born 1977-1998)
- Just beginning to enter the workplace, the Millennial Generation is being raised at the most child-centric time in our history.
- Millennials are typically team-oriented, banding together to date and socialize rather than pairing off. And they’re used to tackling multiple tasks with equal energy, so they expect to work hard. They’re good multitaskers, having juggled sports, school and social interests as children.
- Millennials seem to expect structure in the workplace. They acknowledge and respect positions and titles, and want a relationship with their boss. This doesn’t always mesh with Generation X’s love of independence and hands-off style.
“Any company trying to compete…must figure out a way to engage the mind of every employee.”
Wasserman, Illene. “Generations Working Together.” Entrepreneur.com. 6 September 2007