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Multi-Generational Workplace: Making It Work

  • 27 May 2015
  • Author: Cari Holbrook
  • Number of views: 3654
Multi-Generational Workplace:  Making It Work

For the first time ever, business owners are finding themselves managing multiple generations within their staff; from the Silent Generation through Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (or Millennials) and now even Gen Z. If these names are Greek to you, take a look at why understanding them matters when it comes to business success.

Author, professor, and business leader Mark Green calls this phenomenon in the workplace “generational stack-up,” which is the convergence of several generations of owners, managers, employees and shareholders within the same business. Here’s a closer look at each demographic:

Silent Generation (born between 1925 and 1945): Many business owners claim they plan to never fully retire. Those who do don’t often do so until they’re over 70 years of age. This means the Silent Generation are still in leadership roles in many family businesses. This generation experienced several wars, extreme financial hardships and national crises, making them the most frugally rich generation ever. Hard work and sacrifice are no strangers to this cohort.

Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964): By sheer numbers, we all know how important this generation is to business today. It’s been said that Baby Boomers control more than 80 percent of U.S. personal financial assets. And, despite early predictions, many in this generation are far from slowing down and retiring. Our favorite Baby Boomer expert John F. Dini calls this generation of business owners the largest, wealthiest, most acquisitive and competitive generation in American history.

Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979): It’s easy to discount this generation as having “had it easy” but that statement isn’t entirely true. This generation, like those immediately past, has endured economic instability. From 2007 to 2010, the median net worth of Gen Xers fell by nearly half. Often called the neglected “middle child” between two much larger generations, this cohort’s attitudes and beliefs are also sandwiched neatly between the Baby Boomer and Millennial generations on religion, education, marriage, politics, work values and social issues.

Generation Y/Millennials (born between 1980 and 1999):

While the “Gen Y” moniker seems like just a placeholder title after Generation X, there’s irony in the name when it comes to work ethic. This generation is known to challenge the status quo, with a deep desire to find meaning in what they do. They aren’t afraid to ask “Why?” when it comes to lack of work flexibility, workplace ethics, and transparency of and access to leadership.

Generation Z (born after 2000): With the oldest among this generation now entering their late teens, it’s not too early to consider how they will affect family workplace dynamics. Good news: The effect looks like it will be positive. This group is already being called a “throw-back” generation: highly valuing workplace stability and loyalty as well as in-person communication. In fact, fewer Gen Z workers say they rely on technology to accomplish goals than their Gen Y colleagues. 

Of course, these summaries describe general demographics and may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the challenging dynamics within your own business. For more specific help, there are local resources like the Dale Carnegie® Training Center in San Antonio. The center offers an online workshop titled “Leading Across Generations” that is accessible on their website.  And, as always, if you’re looking for advice on how to structure your business for the best benefits, contact us.

Image Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo




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