~by Cari Samalik~
The possibility of having a multi-generational workforce isn’t new. The era of industrialization introduced many entrepreneurs and businesses to the same dilemma. However, since times have changed because of the advent of the internet, it seems that the gap between generations of workers has widened, and problems of communications and stereotypes have gotten worse.
The internet is a big catalyst and game changer when it comes to how companies run their businesses and excel in their respective industries. Since the Millennials were the first to experience the rise of the internet, a lot of employers choose them over older or younger applicants because of their compatibility with office functions that require internet literacy as well as experience.
Although this is a good choice, judging by the age and experiences that millennials can contribute to the company, there are always good reasons why you should hire Baby Boomers and people from Generation X and Generation Z.
If you want to know how each generation works and how they can complement each other, let’s get to know them better.
Baby Boomers And Their Desk Addiction
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. Their ages are between 53 and 71, and thousands from their generation are retiring every day.
- This is the generation of dedicated workers. They like working in offices, and they base their productivity (and promotion) on how long they stayed with the company.
- They are loyal.
- They maintain an excellent attendance record and are less likely to call in sick. They would be great office secretaries, who finish a task down to the very last bullet.
- They are obsessed with perfection.
- They are parents who know how things are done right in the home and you can expect that attitude to be visible in the office.
- This is a generation that strives to settle down, and they are at the stage where they look for stability. They don’t have high demands, but would expect to receive all of their entitled benefits.
- They are on the lookout for the best opportunities to build their families and have better homes. Mortgage lending is something that they are very concerned about right now, and they would rather have bigger lawns than live in high rise buildings.
- They are mostly overworked, but that doesn’t matter. Because they have few short years left until they retire, they don’t take risks or resign, unless of course if they have plans to retire early.
- This generation knows how to value time, waiting and careful processing.
- They appreciate their work and would dedicate their lives to it.
- They are decisive and sure of their undertakings.
- They don’t work as fast as younger workers, but they finish their task polished and can have better work quality than most younger employees.
- They like to communicate via phone calls, personal emails and through printed paper. Trying to cope up with social media and other messaging apps.
- Will probably have a know-it-all attitude and be hard to teach because they think their experiences are their teacher. Having a millennial leader is going to crush their spirit, but they can manage as long as they’re treated with respect and as counsels.
- They often feel they need to contribute something like a legacy, so they want their ideas to float above everyone else’s.
- They value stability, so they might not be able to adjust to changing roles and responsibilities right away.
Famous people from their generation:
Steve Jobs — The legendary founder and former CEO of Apple and NeXT.
The workforce of this generation will do anything to keep the company afloat and will not stop at mediocrity. When you want a loyal workforce, they are what you need.
Gen X and Their Skeptical Nature
Gen X workers were born between 1965 and 1979. Their ages are around 38 to 52 years old, and they are known to be the skeptics. They are naturally skeptical about authority and the people leading them.
- They gain trust by being independent most of the time — their greatest asset so far.
- They can work with minimal supervision.
- Generation X workforce knows they have to work their way to the top and have to fight with two different generations just to be promoted.
- They take pride in their work.
- They have an innovative spirit and are hard and smart workers at the same time.
- This generation encourages diversity, and they make up most of the small and medium enterprise owners since there were job shortages in the U.S. at the time they graduated.
- All they want is appreciation and recognition for their job well done.
- They don’t like micro-management — something Baby Boomers are known to do (and they disdain them).
- They don’t spend long hours at work. For them, 8 hours in the office is more than they can take. They like to leave work right away to have more time to themselves or to spend with family. They value productivity over working hours and would rather head home than listen to boring board meetings.
- A skeptic by default. They are naturally skeptical about their leader’s capability — but if you prove yourself worthy, they will be loyal.
- They are not loyal to employers because they will never sacrifice work-life balance.
- Although their skeptical nature makes them leave jobs and be disloyal to their employers, they know one sure thing — their diplomas and degrees don’t guarantee them a job right away.
- They have a competitive spirit because they want to be promoted over the millennial.
- They challenge younger leaders and those who have a controlling nature.
In fact, it is this generation that opened the doors for a better and connected world — the internet. They were the catalysts of the interconnected world that we live in today and it is their greatest achievement.
Famous people from their generation:
Larry Page and Sergey Brin — Founders of Google, the largest search engine in the world.
Although the people who invented the internet didn’t come from their generation (but from that of the Silent Generation), it was they who worked in the IT world to develop the web that we have today. The millennials were roughly around five years old when the internet was first invented and their teenage years were made happier by their Gen X parents who changed how things were run.
Generation Y And The Rise Of Millennial Fame
The Millennials were born between 1980 and 1995. They are about 22 to 37 years old, and will be replacing the Baby Boomers, who are expected to retire in less than a decade.
What makes a millennial interesting?
- They value work-life balance above everything else.
- They are passion-oriented people. They are also entrepreneurial, and most got themselves a social media account or blog where they share a part of themselves.
- They are young and willing to take risks. (Great for startups with an innovative idea)
- They are also perfectionists.
- They work hard and play hard, and they love diversity.
- Mostly open-minded individuals who wouldn’t criticize gender orientation, race, color, or life perspective.
- They always aim to be independent and love to work from wherever they are comfortable. (Results-only work environment)
- A millennial who works for you because of passion is guaranteed to stay in the job.
- Millennials have an innovative and creative spirit, so don’t put them in a shell where they can’t move, think and be creative.
- They don’t stay at a job for long if they think that work-life balance is lacking.
- They are notorious job hoppers because they know there are plenty of opportunities more worthy of their time and talent.
- They are the extremes of employees. Experimental, yet optimistic.
- Since they are also perfectionists, they become indecisive and they put too much pressure on themselves.
- They are exposed to part-time jobs and would probably juggle 3-4 part time jobs while being a full-time employee at one company.
- They have a high-class standard of living and want only the best for themselves.
- They won’t hesitate to leave work if they get discouraged.
- They only leave their jobs if they get (easily) discouraged by leadership issues.
Famous people from their generation:
Mark Zuckerberg — Co-founder and CEO of Facebook, the largest social-networking site.
The Generation Z workers were born in 1995 up to the present. They are about 22 to 37 years old and will be the largest part of the population in a decade’s time. A part of this generation already joined the workforce, but they are expected to lead the workforce by 2020.
- They can adapt to the work environment faster.
- Great multitaskers.
- Always updated.
- Versatile and can learn tools easily and faster than anyone else.
- Will bite any opportunity to learn. They believe actual work experience teaches better than sitting in a classroom.
- Enthusiastic and adventurous.
- Can work anywhere.
- Work with devices only. Hate papers and will probably transport messages electronically.
- They don’t like ad-click baits, so they’re going to teach you advertising better than their predecessors.
- They adapt well with social media and couldn’t live without it. Great word-of-mouth bearers and “likes” are their definition of sales.
- They are great influencers and networkers.
- They will probably have a shorter attention span.
- They can be less focused because there’s just too much distraction that can affect a Gen Z baby — like viral social media videos.
- Will probably be less academically educated than anyone else when they join the workforce because they don’t believe so much in school education. They think they can learn everything online. Don’t mistake them for being stupid; they search everything on the web and probably know better than you.
- Will have higher expectations.
- They don’t trust easily. They can also have pseudo-personalities online and personally.
- They will probably show the good side of themselves in adverse situations and then vent online.
We don’t know much about how Generation Z will be in the workforce, but their generation will surely be a game changer. Expect them to be naturally active in social media and instant messaging.
Famous people from their generation:
Patrick Finnegan — Marketing consultant; one of the most influential networkers of his generation helping big business firms and celebrities grow their social media reach.
Having a multi-generational workforce is great because they can complement each other’s weaknesses. When you have great people leaving the company, you should have in line a leader that knows how to handle employees from different generations. It is best to be open, less traditional and open-minded about what your employees can do.
In the age of the internet, no one can set limits to what one can reach. You may not see their potential yet, but when they see they’re planted in solid ground, they’ll surely find ways to own their space and grow.
Cari is a Michigan based entrepreneur and Mom and the CEO & co-founder of Livnfresh – a state related T-shirt brand. Previously, she worked in healthcare and the food and beverage industries before marrying into a screen printing business.