The 5 Generation Workforce

We now have five generations in the workplace and every generation has unique traits that they bring to work. In order to get along, be productive and avoid conflict we need to respect and understand all the generations we spend time at work with.

The youngest generation – Generation 9/11 (born prior to 1990) has only seen the world through the prism of the 9/11 tragedy. They have grown up with war and uncertainty and tend to view the world through that lens. They see the world with less optimism then many of the other generations.

Generation Y is known as the Millennials. (born 1977-1990) Value innovation and change. They are the first generation to grow up with advanced technologies and therefore are very comfortable with technology in every aspect of their lives. They also tend to be opinionated but are very creative and expect to be challenged. They have far more confidence than Generation 9/11 as they grew up in very stable times. See blog post: Working With Generation Y

Generation X is the middle generation. (born 1965-1977) Prefer and value a work-life balance. They were raised by Baby Boomers who worked long hours and were the first generation to have wide spread divorce. Therefore, Generation Xers are very independent and dislike rigid schedules. They value being efficient and getting work done quickly. They have more balance between their social and work lives than their predecessors and they ushered in a more creative, open workplace.

Baby Boomers are now one of the older generations at work. (born 1946-1964) They were born during the booming, optimistic times post World War II. The value loyalty, hard work and long hours as the means to success and thus work ethic is extremely important to them. Boomers need to be noticed for their hard work. When dealing with other generations Boomers need to make sure they are very upfront and specific with their instructions.

Traditionals are the oldest generation in the workplace. (born 1930 – 1945) Also known as the Silent Generation, possess hard work values and are very socially and fiscally conservative. Traditionals fear that they will be replaced by younger generations. Many are still in the workforce because they enjoy working, but some are there for financial reasons and have postponed their retirement. Their life experience and wisdom gives them a lot to offer.

Treating each each generation with understanding and respect is the first step in positive relationships between generations. Each generation has a lot to offer and when they work together the diversity of the generations makes for a much more productive workplace.

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