How to Manage a Multi-Generational Workforce
Multi-generations reside in the workforce and managing the different generations can be challenging. How does a manager bring together different work perspectives so that each generation understands and respects the needs of others? How many different generations are now working together?
Silent Generation – before 1945 and they are in their 70s and 80s and are still working. Not all because of finances, as people are living longer and still have something to contribute to a company. They had a strong work ethic and given it was during the time of McCarthy Era; many felt it was dangerous to speak out. It’s not uncommon for them to have judgments around the younger generations as being entitled.
Baby Boomers – this generation is born between 1946-1964 and is still a significant presence in the workforce. Boomers are not afraid to work hard, are competitive and goal oriented. Boomers are attached to the hierarchal structure and probably don’t do as well in the more flexible workplace. Until the Millennials, they were the largest generation to be in the workforce. This generation includes 74.9 million people worldwide.
Generation X – born between 1965-1980, tech savvy and entrepreneurial are their most noticeable characteristic. The first generation that entered into a service economy from a manufacturing economy. This generation challenges authority the most.
Millennials (Gen Y) – born between 1981-1996 and they are tech savvy and prefer the team working mindset. This generation includes 75.4 million people and is the most significant global workforce. They look for freedom and flexibility in their work hours as well as the location of their work. This generation will leave their employers quicker than other generations as they are looking for a purpose in their work. They may be a very tech savvy generation, though they seek more interaction with their managers.
Generation Z – born between 1997-2018 and some of the older ones are in the workforce. This generation is already stamping their needs and research is stating that they are looking for security. They are also tech savvy as the Millennials, and they want to work hard and make a difference, yet money is their driving force.
Managers today have to balance the specific orientation of each generation as well as be fair to all team members. How does a manager get all the different generations to work together to meet the business needs? Problems surface when you have different work perspectives and communication styles. It’s true even within generations, though more pronounced when there are several generations on the team.
I found a few articles that can provide information on how to effectively manage a multi-generational team.
In the Wall Street Journal “How to Manage Different Generations” provides Lessons in Leadership.
In US News, “A Guide to Managing Multiple Generations in the Workplace,” provides an approach that helps you get past the preconceived stereotypes and move forward with assisting each generation do their best.
In Investopedia, “How To Get Boomers & Millennials Working Together” by Donna Fuscaldo. These two generations compete closely to being the largest generations. Their perspectives can be an issue as Boomers are less techy and Millennials are not as interested in working super hard, but instead more interested in working with a purpose with lots of freedom of hours and location.
What difficulties have you encountered in managing different generations? How have you handled the differences? What ways has your team work together even though they have different work perspectives?