Appreciating A Multigenerational Work Force
This is the first time we are having up to four generations in the work force. They are traditionalists forming 5%, baby Boomers forming 38%, generation X forming 32% and generation Y forming 25%. This forms a total of about 157,316,000 individuals in the work force. It has been forecasted that by 2015, generation Y workers will outnumber Gen X and boomers.
For each generation, they have unique goals, influencers of life, background and behaviors. Here is a breakdown of the different Generations.
Traditionalists: These are the generation that grew up in a “do-without” era, believing in sacrifice and hard work, not liking changes. They were born between 1922-1945, they are a dedicated generation.
Baby Boomers: These are a generation that are defined by their jobs. They grew up in an era when the economy was healthy. They are optimistic and believe in team work. They were born between 1946 and 1964.
Generation X: These were born between 1965 and 1978. They grew up in an era of distrust for national institution, hence they are self-reliant, and they can be referred to as cynical and pessimistic hence comfortable with change.
Generation Y: These were born between 1979 and 1997. They grew in an era of financial boom, they are used to instant gratification and are good at multi-tasking. They are technology driven.
When employers understand the factors that motivate their employees, then they will have a proper understanding of them.
1. Traditionalists seek to strike a connection between their actions and the good of the company. Such employees have a sense of self-worth, they are interested in the good of the company and they seek to build a perfect personal legacy.
2. Baby boomers want to see how their actions makes a difference. Such employees have a sense of achievement, seek for an increased salary and want to build a perfect career.
3. Generation X appreciates flexibility to get the job done on their schedule. They appreciate a sense of security, work to live and build a flexible career.
4. Generation Y seeks to connect responsibility with personal goals. They are interested in the greater good hence they build personal relationships and parallel careers.
When it comes to appreciation, each generation speaks a unique language.
• For traditionalist, they want to hear statements like, “your experience is respected”, “we admire your perseverance”, “your knowledge and perspective is important”. They believe in loyalty with players and reward with service.
• For baby boomers, they appreciate statements like “your opinion is valued”, “your contribution is recognized”, “we need your leadership”. They believe in being rewarded to promote and the recognition of performance.
• For generation X, we hear statements like “we provide you new technology”, “we’ll invest in your training”, “we trust you to choose how you handle this project”. They also believe in the recognition of reward, personal needs and goals.
• For generation Y, you hear statements like “you can save this project”, “you made a difference today”, “let us know what you need to feel challenged”. Tangible evidence for credibility is their evidence of productivity.