Nowadays, working often means joining a team of people that have a broad age range. A millennial may be your manager, but you may still work with Generation Xers and Boomers. For the first time in history, we have five generations working and interacting together.
The Venetians – born between 1922 – 1943 are known as the “greatest generation.” They are mature, they are silent. They are known for their self-sacrifice, their respect for authority, and their work as its reward.
The Boomers came shortly between 1944 – 1960. The Boomers are a generation characterized by hard work, which is where the term ‘workaholic’ comes from. They love competition and effective communication. This is the generation currently thinking towards retirement, or they have retired already. As more boomers work past the retirement age, tech-savvy millennials continue to graduate and enter the workforce.
Generation X is known as the last generation or the ‘latch key generation’ born between 1961 – 1980. This is the smallest generation between the Boomers and the Millennials. The fact is that more parents were divorced during this generation than any other. They were also the first to tell us about ‘work-life balance’ and ask for it in the workplace.
Then we get the Millennials, the everyone gets a ribbon generation, born between 1981 – 2000. This generation never knew a time when technology wasn’t present in the home. They are incredibly pragmatic, hopeful, and determined. They think they’re going to change the world and many believe they can! They might be idealistic at times, but in just the last several years, we have seen Millennials overtake Generation X in being the most represented generation in the workforce. 1 in 3 people in the workplace is a Millennial!
And soon to join us in the workplace is Generation Z, born in the 2000s, these are our high school students, soon to be high school graduates, and co-workers.
Bridging the generational gap:
Different generations tend to value different communication styles, team structures, and job perks. People sometimes think company culture for younger generations means rooms with ping-pong tables and no set office rules. While these can be perks, they’re not necessarily what the younger generation defines as a company culture. Building relationships and forming connections with their co-workers helps your team to grow closer and appreciate each other, regardless of age. When the workforce is happy and enjoying its environment, the atmosphere is a whole lot more productive.
Overcoming existing stereotypes is hard! Lazy, entitled, technology-obsessed, and overeager. These are just a few of the terms that come to mind for many older workers when they think of millennials, and members of the younger generation are well aware of the stereotypical ideas they are up against. Younger workers may perceive the older generations as difficult to train and stubbornly, set in their ways.
For real progress to occur in the multigenerational workforce, every age group must offer flexibility and openness!