I was reading an article the other day that says that there are currently five generations in the workplace. Huh, I always thought there were three. Or two, if you only consider the two that are getting all the attention. Turns out, we’re in a unique place right now, where the oldest members of Generation Z are entering the workplace and members of the Greatest Generation are returning to it. Wow, talk about a generation gap!
This month, I’m focusing on finds that relate to the different generations and how to best navigate their different working styles and preferences.
- Gen Y first started shaking up offices around the globe in the early 2000s. They kind of got a bad rap in the beginning. The older generations disapproved of just about every one of their characteristics, and while some of that disdain may have been legitimate, it’s likely that the biggest issue was that they felt threatened. Gen Y’s tech savvy alone put the analog ways of Gen Xers and Boomers to shame. But that was then, and we’ve had a good fifteen years to get used to the idea—and begin to embrace this diverse group and the benefits they bring to the workplace. Check out this article “Gen Y: How To Utilize Their Strengths" to learn more.
- The other generation that’s getting a lot of press is Boomers. Yes, they’re still here. And, for many reasons, they will be for some years to come. If businesses will give them some respect and consideration, that is. Boomers are often overlooked in favor for their younger counterparts, but they shouldn’t be. Their experience, maturity, and genuine desire to work make a strong case for both retaining and recruiting Boomers for your organization. Read about “Engaging Your Older Workers” here.
- As you’ve already heard me whine (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!), Gen X isn’t getting nearly the media attention that the other generations are. Poor, neglected souls we are. Wah, right? Maybe. Or, maybe we have a good reason to complain. After all, between Gen Y and Boomers we are the most stable aren’t we? And more. This article “Forget Millennials. Gen Xers Are the Future of Work” explains why we need a second look.
- Though we don’t know a lot about the habits and qualities of the newest generation, Gen Z, we do know that it’s inevitable that they will need jobs and be joining the workforce. As if things weren’t complicated enough, now we have to figure out a whole new group of individuals with their own quirks and assets. And, how they will mesh with all the other personalities and behaviors already in the mix. How will you deal with the chaos? Does it seem overwhelming? This article “Managing People from Five Generations” has some sound ideas that make it sound easy!
- After doing all this reading on how to capitalize on each of the generations’ strengths, I had lightbulb moment. Knowing how each generation ticks and what resonates with them are important and can help you be more successful as an organization. But, the truth is, no matter what age, we all respond to appreciation. I’m not suggesting you throw everything you just read out the window; only that you should use the ideas in “Six Ways to Show Employees They’re Appreciated” to complement any approach.
Allison is currently living out the elaborate fantasy she described to her now-former staff and colleagues in early 2001. With a hearty dose of courage and absolutely no plan of action, she abruptly left her middle-management job to become a writer—and today she is doing just that in her role as Baudville's Senior Content Writer. She's here to tell you everything she's learned in her 20-years+ professional life, plus a lot more. She's wordy like that!