More than a Stereotype-Generations in the Workforce
For the first time in history, there are five generations in the workforce: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y (also referred to as Millennials) and Gen Z. Ranging from pre-1946 to after 1997, these groups represent a wide range of ages where employees will inherently have different workstyles and views, which can pose some interesting challenges. Unfortunately, misunderstandings and perceptions can overshadow the strengths that each generation brings to the workforce.
To highlight the positive attributes of each generation, Women Investing and Networking (WIN) hosted a Lunch and Learn, "Working as One: The Power of Generation Differences." Employees gathered to learn about the generational characteristics of their co-workers and understand key differences so we can leverage the strengths of diverse teams. In addition, attendees participated in group discussions focused on common differences across generations – such as preferred communication methods, work-life balance and effective managing styles – to have a better understanding of their co-workers’ thoughts on these topics. These discussions were reinforced with research, such as:
- When seeking a job, flexibility came in as the most important to Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y/Millennials
- Baby Boomers feel rewarded by the title and corner office, Generation X by the freedom to choose their work and Gen Y/Millennials when doing meaningful work
- Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 and are looking for managers who will coach them, put an emphasis on education and know their personal goals
West employee, Catherine Hamilton, expressed that “it was so terrific to bring light to the generational differences that exist in the workplace and in turn capitalize on them to create a stronger more collaborative team.” Understanding individuals and their priorities helps to create a company culture that respects and meets the needs of each generation. When a company has multi-generational teams that are open and flexible to new ideas and insights, together they can open doors to new knowledge and processes that otherwise may not have been explored.
Want to learn more about West’s WIN program? Contact us for more information.