The generation gap has never been a hotter topic in human resources but it is about to get even more complicated. We often only think of three generations in the workplace, but if you do the math you can see that it will soon be five. Each group works differently and a one-size-fits all motivation plan won’t engage everyone. As a manager it is important to recognize the differences and manage them appropriately. Let’s have a look at all five generations.
- Traditionalists. 13% of the current workforce is made up of people born between 1922 and 1943. This group may not have intended to remain in the workforce into the 70s and 80s but the current economic environment has meant that they need to continue to earn money. They are often very rules oriented and have a hard time grasping technologies that are important in today’s workplace.
- Baby Boomers. Just over 26% of the workforce is boomers who were born between 1944 and 1960. Boomers are loyal and want nothing more than professional satisfaction; however they still sometimes have a difficult time giving up their paper notes and calendars for iPads and other modern tools. This generation tends to put work above personal lives and will fall into workaholic traps easily.
- Generation X. GenX were born between 1961 and 1980 and make up 19.8% of the workforce. This group grew up self-reliant as the first generation of “latch-key” kids where both of their parents worked outside the homes. They often have a hard time dealing with authority so they gravitate toward entrepreneurial endeavors, often becoming the managers in today’s workplace.
- Generation Y or Millenials. Born between 1981 and 2000, Millenials currently make up the largest percentage of employees at nearly 28% of the workforce. Boomers and Traditionalists have a hard time relating to “kids” of this age and it can create tension in the office. This generation is the most technologically adept and they are extremely conscious of social issues. They are looking for a perfect work/life balance and will gladly hop from job to job for the promise of a better experience. Companies know they need to court these candidates and give them an incentive to stay at their organization.
- Generation Z. The oldest members of generation z are only 12 but they’ll be joining the workforce within the next four years with part time jobs while they finish high school. Children born since 2001 have never known a world without personal computing devices. Kids as young as 1 are using iPads like pros. With college or life experience behind them they will be a force to be reckoned with in the workplace.
Do you need some help with inter-generational management? Contact the professional recruiters at StaffEx to learn more.