Multi-generational workforce communication

Our segments of multi-generational work place have been about understanding the different generations for better communication and creating a better work environment for all generations. Each generation has great skills and talents that benefit companies and co-workers.

1900 – 1940

  • 5% of workforce
  • Duty before pleasure
  • Hard worker
  • Loyal
  • Fiscally prudent
  • Task oriented
  • Trust hierarchy and authority (top down management)
  • Authority is based on Seniority
  • Get the job done attitude
  • Don’t adapt well to change
  • Get frustrated with what they see as a lack of discipline, respect and structure (relaxed workplace)
  • Communication style is formal, and they don’t enjoy idol chit chat

Baby Boomers 1940 – 1960

  • Hold positions of power & authority
  • Ambitious
  • Loyal
  • Workaholic (60 hours a week)
  • Enjoy having their expertise valued and acknowledged
  • Like prestigious job titles and recognition
  • Cynical to change
  • Prefer monetary rewards and peer recognition
  • Don’t require constant feedback
  • Communicate style is in person, less email and direct
  • Have the “all is well unless you say something” mindset

Gen X
1960 – 1980

  • Credited for bringing work-life balance to workplace
  • Entrepreneurial spirit (55% have been start-up founders)
  • Enjoy working independently with minimal supervision. (thrive on being given a task and left to find solution).
  • Strong work ethic
  • Highly educated
  • Value opportunities to grow & make choices
  • Enjoy relationship with mentors
  • Result driven and don’t micro-manage
  • Communicate in direct straightforward approach.
  • Believe promotions are based on competence and not by seniority
  • Motivated by flexible schedules & telecommuting
  • Active in their communities seeking volunteer opportunities.

1980 – 2000

  • Tech- savvy
  • Not as loyal (jump from one organization to another frequently)
  • Seek companies that offer skills training and mentoring.
  • Need constant feedback.
  • Want a fun work Culture.
  • Highly educated
  • Want collaboration and transparency
  • Seek flexible schedules and time off
  • Communication style is preferred in writing and texting.
  • Prefer structure, leadership and working in teams.
  • Dislike menial work.
  • Not as willing to volunteer time – want to know “what is in it for me” attitude.

Regardless of which generation you are in we all have the responsibility to make sure the people we work with feel engaged and valued. By understanding the differences and talents of each generation we can benefit from the skills and talents we all bring to the workplace.

By: Cheryl Viola, Executive Director