Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers…we’re all different. We’ve all gone through different experiences and life-defining events which have developed our “generational identities”. These in turn have shaped our viewpoints on life and work.
Meet these four generational groups:
- Traditionalists – Born between 1922 – 1945: The effects of the Great Depression and the World Wars caused this generation to have deep levels of loyalty, dedication, honour and sacrifice. In the workplace, their qualities include stability, detail-orientation and a strong work ethic.
- Baby Boomers – Born between 1946 – 1964: This generation was raised in the hopeful post-Second World War era and make up the largest generation in Canada (9.3 billion!). When entering the work place they were faced with stiff competition and the need to constantly prove themselves in order to move ahead. Baby Boomers are known for their strong commitment to their careers and drive to add value.
- Gen X’ers – Born between 1965 – 1980: This generation grew up in less optimistic times, experiencing the effects of corporate downsizing and high rates of divorce. Inevitably, this generation is very independent and they work hard to take care of themselves. In the workplace, you’ll find that they’re eager to work on multiple projects, learn new skills, and get results.
- Gen Y’ers – Born between 1981 – 2000: Although this generation has been exposed to negative historical events such as 9/11 and an upward swing in school violence, they are being raised in tremendously positive environments, both at home and at school. Because this generation is often being raised as peers by their parents, they tend to enter the workforce with high levels of confidence, and therefore expect managers and employers to treat them as colleagues and peers.
So now what? Why does this matter to you? As Adwoa Buahene (author of Loyalty Unplugged: How to Get, Keep and Grow all Four Generation) states, “It’s because it’s becoming increasingly important to get the right person in the right job at the right time, so as to facilitate the required knowledge transfer, training and leadership succession”.
Organizations need to find ways to engage and retain the experienced worker, while providing a work environment that is appealing to younger and/or newer employees. Let us remember the value of all groups! “The experienced generation holds your organizational memory and can serve as great mentors and coaches,” says Buahene. Conversely, the younger generations often bring strong capabilities and different and useful skills earlier in life.
The important point here is to think about the culture of your organization so that it speaks to the values, motivations and expectations of all four generations. “Creating an engaged workplace requires the collaboration of everyone, from senior leaders to front-line employees,” says Buahene. By focusing on how to capitalize the strengths of each generation while managing conflict issues, recruitment, retention and engagement can be improved.
InAccord Consultants (a division of Eagle-Com) are here to help you ensure that you have inspired individuals, a thriving team and an outstanding organization. Contact us and let’s start talking about how you can create an engaged workplace!