Generations in the workplace – the workworld is abuzz with discussions of generational workstyles in the New Economy. Today, you can find Millennials, Gen C, Baby Boomers and Veterans in the same organization, sometimes even on the same team.
The four generations in the workplace
• Millennials, Generation Y, Echoes (1981 to present)
Team-oriented Millennials want to be treated as equals. But, coming from overscheduled childhoods with lots of structure, they need lots of feedback.
• Generation X (1965 to 1980)
Skeptical Gen Xers grew up in the era of downsizing. In their mind, no job is safe – so you should do your own thing. Seeing the havoc that downsizing played, they prize work-life balance and won’t be married to their jobs.
• Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964)
Optimistic and keen to change the world, Baby Boomers throw themselves into their causes, including work. Although “question authority” is their mantra, Boomers tend to have workaholic natures. They seek consensus, often through a flurry of meetings.
• Veterans or Traditionalists (before 1945)
Veterans respect authority and hard work. They favour a top-down leadership style and take pride in a job well-done. They expect seniority, experience and perseverance to be rewarded.
If you’re working in a cross-generational team, you may wonder how to handle competing interests. Try to focus on how you’re like the other team members. You’ll find more success from pursuing shared goals, tapping mutual motivations and striving for common ground. After all, people still make up the generations in the workplace.