It’s one thing to recognize that generational differences exist but it takes conscious effort from management to use those differences effectively and bridge the gap between generations of workers. The best approach for training across a multigenerational staff is to create an environment where knowledge is openly shared and easily accessed instead of being guarded. To do this, employees must be genuinely interested in helping each other learn and grow.
We’re all unique individuals, but there are certain traits that tend to define members of specific generations.
“The key with any of these generations or any employer: You want to engage them,” Ganz said. “Understanding the behaviors, the motivators of teammates and coworkers and employees is vital. It’s absolutely vital.”
Baby Boomers (1946-1964): The product of the post-World War II baby boom triggered significant social change, but as a group, they are extremely career-oriented. They tend to believe more hours equals better performance, and they’re typically in charge because of their age. More than any other generation, they expect job feedback from a 360-degree perspective—boss, peers, and subordinates. They are the original workaholics, Ganz said.
Generation X (1965-1984): Ganz said my generation is the best-educated, most independent, and most skeptical. We’re next in line to step into leadership positions as Boomers age out. We tend to consider ourselves free agents rather than company loyalists. We’re extremely goal-oriented, but that really means personal as opposed to company-mandated aspirations. We led the dot-com boom, but we’re not digital natives.
Millennials (1984-2004): This is the generation that doesn’t really have a concept of life without the internet, and one of their greatest fears is boredom. Ganz said that’s partly why Millennials are so team-oriented; they’ve been sharing information about themselves on social platforms for most of their lives. They have a strong sense of social justice, and they want the companies they work for to support causes they believe in. They value diversity in the workplace, and they’re always looking for new challenges.