Leading the Multi-Generational Workforce

Traditionalists.  Baby Boomers.  Generation Jones.  Millennials.  Generation X.  Generation Y.  Keeping up with the latest insight on workforce behaviour is enough to make one’s head spin.

We all know diversity can add richness and depth to any group — but it can also create tension as individuals with differing backgrounds and beliefs come together to create results.  Generational diversity is no less powerful than gender or ethnic diversity.

Below is a very brief overview of the generations at work and some of the events that influence their view of the world.  The trick is to take an individualistic approach rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to the way you manage and lead this diverse workforce.  Get your teams talking about what is important to them in the workplace.  Help them identify common ground and express appreciation for those in other generations.

Born between 1928-1945
Influenced by World War II, rationing, working hard and saving money for a rainy day. Work ethic is based on dedication, commitment, and conformity. May believe in awarding promotions based on length of service.

Born between 1946-1964
Influenced by social unrest and protest, equality between the genders, and the race to the moon. Brought up in the relative affluence of the 1960’s, tend to believe anything is possible through hard work.

Generation X
Born between 1965-1979
Also called the “latchkey generation”, they have learned self reliance and pragmatism. Concerned with financial and emotional security. More global and technologically-oriented than previous generations.

Generation Y
Born between 1980-1995

Largest consumer group in history.  Influenced by the terrorist attacks of September 11 and Columbine, they are concerned with well-being of others and are community centric.  Want to work on their own terms – “paid volunteers”.

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