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From Generation Baby Boomer to Y: How to Manage Your Company's Diverse Workforce

ByJason Richmond,
business.com writer
|
Sep 20, 2017
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Understanding the three vastly different generations

When it comes to running a company in 2017, CEOs and managers are struck with a new dilemma: With a brand new generation being ushered into the workforce, companies are finding themselves with a diverse array of employees ranging from baby boomers to millennials. With major differences between them, learning how to manage and lead everyone successfully comes down to understanding what sets each generation apart. From values to characteristics to basic needs and wants – there's more that separates these co-workers than simply their age.

Baby boomers (1946-1964)

Committed to providing financially for their families, men and women born between the years of 1946 and 1964 devoted their lives to working hard, often sacrificing authentic family time and a personal lifestyle. Loyalty to their job often meant a lifelong career at the same company, slowly climbing the corporate ladder after years of paying their hard-earned dues.

Generation X (1965-1980)

Born in the midst of the Vietnam War, many Gen Xers felt compelled to rebel against authority, ushering in a new way of thinking in the workplace. Following on the heels of a generation before them that many consider to have been "workaholics" (to the detriment of their personal lives), the workforce in the Gen X era fought adamantly against that notion.

However, with the emerging tech world toward the end of Generation X, thanks in large part by the creation of Apple, Inc. by Steve Jobs in 1976, many Gen Xers found themselves more inclined to work on their skillsets, maintaining their value to the companies they worked for.

Millennials (1980-2004)

While Generation X may have been around for the creation of Apple and other companies beginning to make their mark in the tech world, it is millennials – or Generation Y – that have taken full advantage of growing up in a technologically advanced generation.

Many millennials find themselves being stereotyped as a workforce of young adults that lack dedication and work ethic– often at the condemnation of those from the baby boomer era. It is true that millennials are driven by completely different values than the generations before them. Their desires, needs and expectations are geared more directly toward life fulfillment and enjoyment, as opposed to simply working to earn a living wage.

These days millennials want a fast trajectory to success, freedom to make decisions and take action and to enjoy their lives outside of the workplace. And truly, should we blame them? With the most educated and technologically progressive workforce in history, their skills meet their aspirations. While some see their job-hopping mentality as a "lack of loyalty" to employers, others understand that they are simply moving toward a position and company that offers the culture they wish to have.

With the most educated and technologically progressive workforce in history, their skills meet their aspirations. While some see their job-hopping mentality as a "lack of loyalty" to employers, others understand that they are simply moving toward a position and company that offers the culture they wish to have.

Bridging the gap

To effectively bridge the gap between these multigenerational employees, companies are beginning to look at culture as the roadmap to success. Now it's about providing more than just a decent salary and benefits. While pay and benefits may continue to appease the remaining baby boomers, the workforce of Gen X and Gen Y are looking for incentives, gratification and a healthy work-life balance. Through an understanding of each generation – and how it dictates their mentality both inside and outside of the workplace – corporate heads are cultivating a company culture that appeals to the masses, and, in turn, leads to success.

Jason Richmond
Jason Richmond
See Jason Richmond's Profile
My ongoing goal of continual growth started with one objective - to learn from everyone and apply those lessons to my life. My life is dedicated to understanding how I can better help others, and that’s why I’ve travelled all over the world. To take a step back, it all started with Dale Carnegie. I took the Carnegie course after three years in Australia and embraced the methods and philosophies behind it. I embraced them so much, in fact, that I dedicated my life to them. I became a partner with Dale Carnegie because I saw the impact the program had on careers around the globe. It was a genuinely enlightening moment in my professional life. In fact, it was a legitimate moment of clarity. This path led me to become a consultant for various organizations, acting as an HR partner as I developed partnerships for my clients. I had the opportunity to travel the world and work with amazing people everywhere. But why Carnegie? My passion is to learn and share what I’ve discovered. It’s to take away an experience from every situation and apply it to my life and the lives of my team members. You won’t learn if you remain stationary, and I want to learn and grow. Ultimately, my position now is a way for me to provide for people and make their lives better. I do so by uniting individuality and fostering outstanding culture. I’d rather be a leader than a pusher because people respond positively to it. After all, if I’m not energized and committed, why should my team be? I am who I am because of because I’ve had the opportunity to be a student of different cultures around the world. I don’t see myself as a CEO. I don’t see myself as an executive. I see myself as a resource for my team and my clients. If I can’t serve them, I’m not doing my job. And if I can’t serve you, I can’t say I’m doing my job, either.
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