Have you stopped to think about how diverse our workforce is currently? Have you realized that there are five generations working under the same roof in nearly every company all over the globe? Right now, in 2018, is really the first time that we can say that, ever. With that much power to harness and experience to leverage, companies are tasked with satisfying working conditions and strategies for a multitude of different personalities, cultural traits and working styles. It ranges from the silent generation, whom are the eldest people in the workforce and the least tech savvy (historically), to the newbies in the workforce, Generation Zers, whom essentially do not know life without advanced technology. Even for the largest tech companies in the world, they need to find a balance for these vastly differing employee types.
To summarize the five workforce generations:
-Late silent generation & early baby boomers (Employees born in the 1940s): Used to hierarchies, order within organizations, and are highly skilled. They are what some may consider, traditionalists.
- Baby boomers (employees born in the 1950s and early 1960s): Grew up in an era of innovation and civil rights, women’s and antiwar movements. They may be more apt to question authority, while being authoritative themselves. They may be a bit easier to participate and adapt to change than their predecessors. They are reshaping how retirement looks for the future generations.
- Generation X (employees born in the late 1960s and 1970s): Largely college educated and very results-driven. They make up 51% of the management workforce and are quick adapters. They are survivors of the dot-com bubble and 1990s volatile job market. They are loyal employees and a hardworking generation. Gen Xers work to be the generational gap bridge and help bring everyone together.
- Generation Y/ millennials (employees born in the 1980s): Have a stigma of being under working and hard to manage. Born without technology but was introduced in their early years. Very connected, open-minded and are not afraid to challenge the status quo. They are the next generation of management.
- Generation Z (employees born in the 1990s): Born into technology so they are an even more connected generation than ones that come before them. They are similar to their grandparent’s generation in that they grew up in time of war and, at times, financial uncertainty. They are just beginning their careers and have a lot to learn but bring a fresh perspective to the workforce.
Each of these generations has their unique characteristics and attributes that make companies function. The collaboration between all five generations has led to groundbreaking advancements worldwide. Each new generation that enters the workforce brings new challenges and needs that companies must learn to adapt to. It’s obvious that the latest two generations have very different needs and wants than any other generations before them, which makes one wonder about how the workforce will look for the generation after X. That generation will enter the workforce as artificial intelligence makes its largely impacting debut, which will result in major competition with not only themselves, but they’ll also be competing for jobs against technology.
This is no time for a set-it-and-forget-it management style. Understanding the attributes of each generation will help organizations harness their different styles and insights to engage brands’ ever-widening audiences.