I just attended a seminar on Understanding Generational Differences in the Workplace. The presenter reviewed four (4) generations now prevalent in the US workplace. Each generation has a different background of historical events that shaped their lives as teens.
Each generation has characteristic differences in values, workplace characteristics, and optimal management methods. The tips for working with each generational mindset made sense to me and are useful as guidelines. However, I was struck by three factors that were not more prominently mentioned:
. Gender – Women / Men
. Business Size – Small / Large
. Business Structure – Network / Hierarchical
The sole mention regarding gender was that, for those born before 1946, the traditional value of men in the workplace and women at home with kids was still the norm. I was astonished at the lack of further mention because, in the US workforce, women are as dominant as men (47%:53%). Does this mean that generational differences trump gender differences? Interesting. Regarding business size, nothing was said. Yet small businesses (independents with <500 employees), in the US business space, are as dominant as large business (50%:50%). Does this mean generational differences trump business size? The sole mention regarding business hierarchy was that, for those born 1965 and later, “facts impressed them more than hierarchical position in the organization.”
Why does this all matter? Because:
1. Women in the workforce matter a LOT.
2. People born 1965 and later are our next leaders.
3. I am working with people from ALL these generations now in a network-structured business.
4. I am having to pitch business to hierarchical- as well as network-structured businesses.
5. My kids are in the “born 1980 and later” generation, which is a whole new game.
Bottom Line: Excellent seminar, good tips, new questions.
What does the generation mix look like in your organization? What does it mean for the future of your Company? Understand the four generations in the workplace today–each at different life stages, each with differing views, expectations, and needs. This seminar will provide you with tips on how to promote understanding, leverage strengths, avoid clashes, improve productivity, and maximize teamwork. Turn age diversity into a strategic advantage for your organization.
Discussion topics on generational differences include:
. Attitudes towards work
. Loyalty towards the employer
. Attitudes regarding respect and authority
. Training styles and training needs
. Desire for a better work/life balance
. Attitudes towards supervision
. Other sources of differences