A Baby Boomer, Gen Xer, Millennial, and Gen Zer walk into a conference room. This might sound like the start of a joke, but it’s a reality in our current workplace culture. Co-workers can range from age 23-60+, which isn’t incredibly rare, but can be when you look at the vast differences in each of the four generations represented.
Baby Boomers – Born 1946-1964
Most likely, the majority of this generation is retired, but there is still a good chunk in the workforce.
Have you ever heard of Jeff Bezos?
This generation values relationships, growing up making phone calls and writing letters. Technology doesn’t escape them even if they might’ve been a little late to the game. Yet, the way they use technology differs from other generations in that they use it for productivity purposes, not necessarily connectivity purposes.
Working with a Baby Boomer Tip: Realize their lessons are still relevant. Take the opportunity to learn from them and ask them advice or questions along the way. They can be a wealth of information.
Generation Xers – Born 1965-1976
This generation might be known as the lost generation, falling between two very recognizable groups in Baby Boomers and Millennials, but they still play an important role. This group is the first generation to lean more towards work-life balance vs. going the Corporate America route.
The majority of this generation was raised by two parents who worked, or a single parent, earning them the moniker of latch-key kids. Generation Zers were more the opposite of Baby Boomers because they delayed getting married and starting a family, choosing to focus on their careers first.
Working with a Generation Xer Tip: Honor the need for work-life balance. Be understanding and encouraging when it comes to the flexibility and autonomy in their work style and how they handle processes.
Millennials – Born 1977-1995
One of the more polarizing generations. Millennials are submerged in technology, thriving on innovation, startups, and the evolution of remote work. The majority of this generation was raised by parents who were more friendly than authoritative, making this generation one that creates its own rules. Millennials are justly, or unjustly, classified as being self-focused and lacking interpersonal skills. They are still achievement-oriented and team-oriented, as most grew up participating in team sports or playgroups.
Working with a Millennial Tip: Be open to a new and different way of working that involves technology. Find a communication balance by speaking directly and concisely.
Generation Zers – Born 1996-2015
This group emerged from the womb knowing that with a touch of a screen they could control a smartphone. A generation with an affinity for texting and messaging apps, Gen Zers spend several hours a day on some sort of digital platform, absorbing information at a more rapid pace in the visual form. Because of the world they were born into, they are more eco-friendly than other generations, seeing that they don’t know a time without environmental challenges and focus. The kings and queens of multitasking, Generation Zers see social media platforms as a potential source of income.
Working with Generation Zer Tip: Break away from set hours as the norm and be receptive of measuring on productivity instead of face time. Help them learn by using visual tools.
So the next time a Baby Boomer, Gen Xer, Millennial, and Gen Zer walk into a conference room, prepare yourself to witness workplace excellence.