Three, four, and sometimes five generations of people are engaged in today’s workforce. Employers are seeking ways to recruit and retain people in each generation so that they have the best-fit and most-skilled people working on their teams. People in the generations themselves are seeking best-fit employment as well.
Wide-ranging business publications, including the Harvard Business Review, have been covering generations at work for over a decade. In a post-9-11 world, each generation brings differing expectations to work. Boomers (1946-1964) have earned money, may need to earn more and want to enjoy what they are doing. Between the Boomers and equally large Gen Y cohort are the Gen X (1965-1980) employees striving to advance yet running up against the still-working Boomers and the rapidly advancing Gen Y employees raising families. Gen Y (1981-1996) or Millennials are cause-driven and want to know that the work they do is making a positive difference in the world. Gen Z (1996-2011) or Tech-gens (only know a world with high-technology and cell-phones) are working in entry-level and second-jobs trying to figure out what they want to do for their next employment.
While generational distinguishing traits exist, the key is to manage each person as an individual to determine how best to support professional development and workplace productivity. That said, the Harvard Business Review suggests these tips for working with Boomers and Gen Y because of their similar desires for flexibility, purpose, and people-orientation.
- Provide time-off of work to pursue hobbies, interests and passions.
- Provide flex-time and work-from-home options.
- Provide intergenerational mentoring. Gen Y and Boomers tend to gravitate toward each other as relatable.
- Provide community give-back opportunities. Community project days. Dollar-matching for non-profits that employees are supporting
Gen X is task oriented, self-sufficient, and advancement-hungry. Gen Z is trying to find a footing in an uncertain and unpromising world and as a result may not be as predictable and reliable as previous generations.
What do the generations in your workplace want and need? What do individuals hope to experience as an employee at your organization?
Workplace: Managing the moments of our day-to-day business lives takes work. Together, let’s explore what issues and activities affect us every day (or some days) that we go to work. – Jana