If you look around your office, you will surely find employees belonging to different age groups. Some are starting their careers while others have passed their prime. With people living longer and retiring later, we have five different generations in today’s workplace, increasing workplace diversity in the process.
As a manager, you will have to deal with challenges such as different work styles, different values, communication issues and negative stereotypes about each generation. You must bridge the age gap, bring everyone on the same page and build collaborative relationships. A smart task management software like TaskQue can help you with that. More importantly, create multigenerational opportunities that everyone takes advantage of.
To do that, you will have to develop a deeper understanding of how these generations differ from one another and how they approach work. That is exactly what we are going to discuss in this article. You will learn about five different generations in the workplace and how each one behaves at work.
1. Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
Baby boomers have passed their heydays and are close to their retirement. When it comes to communication, they prefer a face to face interaction or communicate via email. Baby boomers value health insurance, a respectful boss and handsome salary over other perks.
Here are some of the characteristics of baby boomers that differentiate them from other generations.
- Strong work ethics
- Team player
Baby boomers are workaholics and want top positions in an organization, along with prestige. Due to this, you might see them criticizing younger generations for their poor work ethics and lack of commitment to work. This creates friction between older and younger generations and the generation gap starts to widen.
2. Generation X (1965-1981)
Generation X loves to take on the challenges but also wants job security, freedom and good salary. They are resourceful, self-sufficient and independent. Generation X loves to collaborate with others and help others with their experiences. Despite being near the top of the hierarchy, they always stay in learning mode.
Generation X seeks professional coaching and signs up for mentorship programs to hone their skills. Whether it is work or life, Generation X takes a balanced approach. You can also see that trend continues when it comes to choosing communication channels. They hate being micromanaged by others and believe in empowering and trusting employees.
3. Millenials – Generation Y (1982-1995)
According to Pew Research Center, Generation Y is the largest segment in the workplace, accounting for more than 50% of the employees. Also known as millennials, Generation Y is ambitious. Due to this, they frequently switch jobs in search of career growth and, in some cases, even change their career paths. They put a lot of emphasis on trust and transparency and hate ambiguity and slow processes.
Millennials thrive in teamwork and demand flexible work timings. Older generations such as baby boomers criticize millennials for their disrespectful attitude, unrealistic demands and reliance on technology. Generation Y wants to pursue their passion and if they find a job that helps them do that, they will stick to a job for long. Businesses will have to cater to the needs of millennials to retain them. Here is how you can do that.
- Help them learn and grow
- Provide feedback
- Recognize their accomplishments
- Make them feel comfortable at work
4. Generation Z (1995-2005)
Generation Z are tech-savvy and have an entrepreneurial mindset. Due to their tech-savvy nature, multitasking comes naturally to them and they are great at it too. This is reflected in the way they communicate because they use instant messaging or chatting applications instead of emails.
Most people belonging to the generation want to start their own business. They are highly motivated and willing to give it their best shot but also demand recognition and reward in return. Job security, independence and ability to pursue their passion are some of the things they demand from their employers. Just like millennials, Generation Z wants businesses to accommodate their individual needs.
5. Generation Alpha (2005-Onwards)
As Millennials and Generation Z pass adulthood, their kids will make their way to the workplace. They are known as Generation Alpha or iGeneration. With more than 2.5 million generation alpha members born each week and higher life expectancy than their predecessors, Generation Alpha is all set to take over our workplace in the future. Brought up around connected devices and screens, you can see its shades in their personality too. This new breed of individuals borrows similar characteristics as their predecessors.
To wrap it up
Successful companies understand the needs of every generation and fulfill them too. They realize that if there are conflicts in the workplace or friction between different generations, it will have a negative impact on team cohesion, which will hamper their business growth. I hope that this article might have helped you in understanding the differences between generations at work and enable you to manage them more efficiently.
Which generation do you hail from and how do you juggle different generations at work? Let us know in the comments section below.