Multi-Generational Workplace – Are You Ready?

    By Marc Miller | Small Business

    Multi Generational Workplace – Are You Ready? image multi generational workplace 300x199Multi Generational Workplace – Are You Ready?The multi-generational workplace …. really?

    The multi-generational workplace is here and will not be going away! Are you ready?

    With the vast majority of baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) will not be retiring as planned we will likely see many multi-generational workplaces with baby boomers, generation X and Y in the same office or workplace.

    There are some discussions that baby boomers need to stick around because there are not enough of Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1982) to replace baby boomers.

    Generation Y or Millenials (those born between 1983 and 2000) are entering the market in huge numbers. In fact, there are suggestions that Millenials will make up over half the workforce by 2020.

    For many baby boomers this is a pretty scary thought. This multi-generational workplace will only get bigger.

    Looking at Gen Y through Baby Boomers Eyes

    One of the real challenges that baby boomer managers have is they look at employees of Generation Y like they are baby boomers. The reality is they do not look like us! In fact, we created them the way they are. They are our children!

    Let’s compare Baby Boomers and Gen Y.

    Characteristics of Baby Boomer

    • Competitive – There were so many of us we had to compete for everything.
    • Work Ethic – We were raised by the Greatest Generation to go to work. It was suppose to be fun!
    • Private – In general, we are a pretty private generation. We learned not to discuss how much we make at work!

    Characteristics of Generation Y

    • Team Oriented – Everything they did in school was oriented around groups.
    • Altruistic – We told them to follow their passions and do what is right. What they do is more important than how much they earn.
    • Social – They are the polar opposite of Baby Boomers in that Millenials created the Social Media revolution.

    As baby boomers we were trained to be employees and to be loyal to our employers. We raised Generation Y to follow their passions and to ask for what they wanted. Therefore, when they ask for the promotion and do not get it they are likely to move on. We raised them to do this!

    Most baby boomers had their first job in their early teens. Most of Generation Y do not get their first job until after they graduate from high school. Why? We wanted them to focus on their studies.

    Many of Generation Y enter the workplace for the first time after they graduate from college.

    For many baby boomers expect generation Y employees to understand the workplace, the politics, the processes and unwritten rules. (You know what I am talking about like giving two weeks notice, never discuss how much you make, being on time at work, be in the office even when you have nothing that needs to be done there,….) We expect them to understand what we did when we entered the workplace.

    Many do not!

    We look at them through our Baby Boomer glasses and we wonder why they are the way they are!

    I wrote this first post is to give you something to think about. I will be writing more on the multi-generational workplace in the coming weeks and there is a lot to write about.

    What if you had a Generation Y boss in a multi-generational workplace?


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