Managing the generations

Within organisations and teams generational diversity management is very challenging and can have a great impact on team and individual performance. Organisations may have up to five generations in their workforce:

  • Traditional Generation.
  • Baby Boomers.
  • Gen X’ers.
  • Gen Y’ers.
  • Gen Z’ers.

It is important to understand individuals within these generations have very different traits. Knowledge and appreciation of these traits is critical to ensure team cohesion.

Gen Y

Generation Y are perceived by many to be difficult to manage. This could be put down to the fact that they are so different from the older generations in their outlook to life and work. It also may be attributed to the fact that many lack maturity and are at a stage of their lives where job security is not a concern.

Regardless of popular perception they are and will continue to add great benefit to organisations particularly when it comes to innovation. They are the future of our workforce and a great asset if managed properly.

Generation Y were born between 1981 and 1995 they display the following traits within the workplace:

  • Believe in effecting change and making an impact.
  • Active involvement in their organisation’s growth.
  • Insist on flexibility and relaxed work environment.
  • Expect frequent praise.
  • May mistake silence for disapproval.
  • Need to know what they’re doing right and wrong.

Gen X

Restaurant Staff.jpg

Generation X are, to many, the back bone of the organisation they’re reliable, efficient and get the job done with minimal fuss. That said their family, especially if young, will always come first.

Organisations are increasingly looking to provide flexible working arrangements and remote working to accommodate for this generation and the generations to come.

Generation X were born between 1965 and 1980 they display the following traits within the workplace:

  • Place a high priority on productivity and results.
  • Focus on maintaining a work-life balance.
  • Technically savvy.
  • View themselves as free agents.
  • Natural at multitasking.
  • Need constant positive feedback.

Baby Boomers

Baby boomers hold the history of an organisation. They have a wealth of knowledge to share with younger generations.

Baby boomers, many of which are reaching retirement age, do not appreciate Generation Y. Yet most of Generation Y was raised by Baby Boomers.

Baby boomers were raised in an environment that had little tolerance for error. Many were subjected to the cane at school and did not meet technology till later in life.

Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 they display the following traits within the workplace:

  • Driven to work long hours.
  • Live to find solutions to problems.
  • Love to be in charge.
  • Status means everything.
  • Believe they will be rewarded for hard work.
  • Little tolerance for Gen Y.

Often give feedback but seldom receiving any.


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