One of our employees recently attended an emerging leader’s event in Grand Rapids hosted by Inforum. The topic of discussion was millennials in the workforce. Nationally, our workforce has a mix of all different generations and personalities. So what are these groups like?
Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) have years of experience and have seen social and economic climates change and affect the market place. They are extremely hard working and motivated by position, perks and prestige. They paid their dues and sacrificed to get where they are today. Baby Boomers are clever and resourceful – but have a harder time adjusting to the current workplace flexibility trends such as working from home and changing the typical structured 9-5 hours.
Gen X (born 1965-1980) or how many refer to them, the sandwich generation, as they care for aging parents while raising kids, serve as a bridge between younger and older workers – they are the mediators who value fairness. They can teach us a thing or two about technology and the work-life balance. They are proven to be highly adaptable to change and make whatever changes necessary in order to get ahead. They are ambitious and eager to learn, but like to accomplish things on their own terms.
Millennials (born 1981-2000) are digital natives with a strong entrepreneurial mindset. They’ve grown up in an era of infinite resources making them more efficient problem solvers and critical thinkers. Millennial employees expect accessibility to leadership and are looking for a coach, not a boss. A fast moving generation, it can be hard to keep up but don’t slow them down. Sound crazy? It’s not. Millennial employees who feel their bosses are invested in their personal growth will develop stronger relationships with the company and the people in it. Millennials brains don’t operate like a typical 9-5, 40-hour work week. They think about their personal lives during work, and work once they leave the office for the day. They focus on the quality of their work, rather than the focusing on the number of hours.
Now, it’s safe to say that bridging the generational gaps between these groups can be difficult. A millennial might not think twice about talking to the CEOs about what’s on their mind their first day while a Gen X manager thinks, what are they doing?! But it’s only natural for millennials to feel that way, given their Baby Boomer parents raised them to believe that their voice matters.
In the end, age is just a number, right? The key to a cohesive company culture and environment is encouraging your work force to acknowledge each other’s values and how they contribute to the team and companies goals.