There are typically four different generations working together in a company. Generational differences in work styles can be beneficial, but can also cause conflicts when employees are not aware of how to interact with each other.
The different generations are:
- Traditionalists / Veterans
- Baby Boomers
- Generation X
- Millennials / Generation Y
Traditionalists / Veterans
- Born before 1946.
- These individuals are typically dedicated hard workers.
- They respect authority and value seniority and tenure.
- They do not deal well with change.
- Traditionalists prefer more formal communication and are typically more discrete.
- They do not like a lot of meetings or anything that wastes their time.
- Born between 1946 and 1964.
- These individuals are typically workaholics and believe their self-worth is directly related to their work ethic.
- They do not like change and they question authority.
- Their careers are extremely important and define them. Their personal life is centered around their career.
- They work well in teams and enjoy sharing their opinions and ideas.
- Baby Boomers prefer open, direct communication and a diplomatic work environment where their ideas matter.
- Born between 1965 and 1980.
- These individuals value balance between work and their personal lives.
- They prefer to work smarter not harder. Increase efficiency and eliminate the long hours.
- They are project oriented and want to get paid to get the job done.
- Generation Xers prefer a more casual work environment and tend to be skeptical of authority.
- They detest micro-management and want independence.
- They adapt well to change and are highly educated.
Millennials / Generation Y
- Born between 1980 and 2000.
- They are team players.
- They have a strong sense of entitlement and can get impatient.
- These individuals are high-performing and technologically savvy.
- They want flexibility at work, which means working any time, any place. They want to work to get the job done, not based on a 9 to 5 schedule.
- Millennials also want a good balance between work and life outside of work.
Each generation offers excellent qualities that we can all learn from. Many of the characteristics of one generation are similar to the characteristics of other generations. It is important to be open to new ideas and new methodologies that work for all generations. Each person, each department, and each company must play their part to find a healthy balance for all generations.