Prepare for Workplace 2020!

Five generations working side-by-side in the workplace

By: Dr. Valerie D.W. James

March 3, 2020


WOOOOWWWW! There are now five generations working side-by-
side in the workplace. Get to know your team, then use this socialization to
find creative ways to make their talents work together best.

          Have you ever considered the value each generation brings to the
workforce? Although individuals in any generation may share similarities to those
in others, here are some general characteristics and ideas for promoting greater
synergy among generations.


The Silent Generation / Traditionalists (1900-1945)
          The Silent Generation was not so familiar with technology and, for some, it
is still a difficult concept to grasp. One great management tool to promote
productivity within this generation is stability. Create a stable and steady
environment that allows them to feel as though they have control within their day.
Face-to-face communication or a live call versus a text message with these
employees helps to set clear and precise goals that need be accomplished.


The Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
          The consumerism and spending of Baby Boomers has fueled the world’s
economy today. This is the generation that is most known for their strong work
ethic and goal-oriented inclinations. Job security is very important to this
generation, meaning that a formal structure may be greatly appreciated among the
baby boomers. A form of productivity to consider would be placing them in teams
with the millennials. In turn, this will provide mentors to the millennials and the
millennials could encourage technologic advancement for the baby boomers
interested in learning more sophisticated techniques.


Generation X (1965-1976)
          Education was a great focal point in this generation. They were young adults
when most work place tech innovations started to take off, so they are comfortable
using technology, but some would still rather communicate face-to-face. Gen Xers
may prefer to carry a workload independently and debrief after the task has been
completed. A terrific contrivance to assist with productivity in this generation
would be to allow them to work in their own space with lots of autonomy.
Establish a sense of trust that motivates them to work diligently.


Millennials (1977-1997)
          This is the generation that became very acquainted with technology.
Technology became an important language that the entire world would eventually
have to adapt to and become fluent in. There has been a revolution in the way they                                                                                                     work, including widespread acceptance of flextime, work from home, and
freelancing. The freedom to create their own work hours is a high priority to this
generation and they are known to be highly productive if given space to create.
One major incentive to consider when dealing with millennials is to offer a more
flexible schedule and the option to work out of the office since they tend to enjoy
the freedom to work in a familiar place. They thrive on praise and recognition and
appreciate receiving feedback about how they are progressing in the company.
Millennials like to know they have a method to reach higher than the bottom rung,
where they’ve been hovering while waiting for baby boomers to free up the higher-
level jobs by retiring.


Generation Z (After 1997)
          Millennials may be the first fluent generation when it comes to technology;
but, Gen Zers have a language that is only technology, and speak in memes,
incoherent letters, and hashtags! Joking aside, while older generations have also
found places on the internet, Gen Zers have their own internet culture and see
technology as an “extension of themselves,” rather than an addiction or
compulsion. Most Gen Zers view their personal devices (cell phone, tablets, or
laptops) as a necessity to be productive in life. This generation is also known for its
inclusion and acceptance. Workplace flexibility is the most significant component
that this generation will seek from an employer.


          Schedule a space for collaboration and communication weekly by creatively
organizing cross training or mentoring. Do not just drop the latest tools in the
hands of employees and expect immediate efficiency or competency. Help your
workers develop the critical skills needed through cross-generational collaboration.
Don’t be afraid to physically change the work place to accommodate face to face
interactions and a comfortable workplace environment.
         

          Each generation is different, so don’t hone in on any one strategy and
abandon others. Get to know your employees and their values and use this article
as a guideline to be inclusive of all five generations.

Prepare for Workplace 2020!

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