Generation Gap at Work? – April 25, 2008


Boomers, Gen. X, Gen. Y…… so what’s next. Actually Gen. Z, those born around 2000 and after.

To know how to work along side and motivate the different groups, we first must know who they are.

Boomers = Born 1946-1964. Influences such as Churchill & Dr. Spock to Jack Nicklaus & JFK. And TV like ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ and ‘Gilligan’s Island’

Generation X = Those born approximately 1965-1979. Leaders such as Nixon, Reagan, Bush, & Clinton. Sports heroes such as Hank Aaron. And the first generation to be taught on computers in school.

FORTUNE Magazine reported on Generation X employees: “77% of Gen Xers say they’d quit in a minute if offered “increased intellectual stimulation” at a different company. And they’re intent on managing their own time: 51% would jump ship for the chance to telecommute, and 61% of Gen X women would leave their current jobs if they were offered more flexible hours elsewhere……
In regards to job satisfaction for Gen X, FORTUNE reported:
“Recognition scored very low, and power and prestige ranked dead last. Salary, a major preoccupation for boomers, came in third from the bottom.” She adds: “It’s interesting, because most employee-motivation efforts in companies are designed by boomers, who tend to build the programs around what motivates them. But this generation is different.”

So, who is Generation Y …. = Those born in the late 70’s up until around year 2000. Growing up with the Clinton and Bush influence as President. And, the wave of Tiger Woods on the sports world.
* They have financial smarts, early planners when it comes to retirement

* Work-life balance isn’t just a buzz word, it is a priority

* Change, change, change. Gen Yers don’t expect to stay in a job, or even a career, for too long.

97% own a computer
94% own a cell phone
76% use Instant Messaging.
15% of IM users are logged on 24 hours a day/7 days a week
34% use websites as their primary source of news
28% own a blog and 44% read blogs
49% download music using peer-to-peer file sharing
60% own some type of portable music and/or video device such as an iPod
I personally believe it creates a wonderful learning environment having a blend of various generations in the work place. Not only can we learn from each other, but it also creates a natural succession plan for the company.

But with differences, can come certain issues. Lee Hecht Harrison reports that more than 60% of employers say they are experiencing tension between employees from different generations, according to their survey.

The survey found more than 70% of older employees are dismissive of younger workers’ abilities. And nearly half of employers say younger employees are dismissive of the abilities of their older co-workers.

This is something to be aware of, and realize the need to manage to. But still realize the great benefit to your company in providing this type of diversity.

For the full article from FORTUNE including interesting case studies, visit


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