Generation Gaps in the Workplace

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generation is defined as an identifiable group or cohort which shares birth years, age, location and significant life events at critical development stages. The generations prominent now are so different that conflicts usually arise. It was astonishing how different the generations are and how big the gap between generations is.

Baby Boomers: 1946- 1964

  • Mentors to the younger generations
  • Workaholics
  • Personal growth is important
  • Not as adaptable to new technology
  • Disciplined

Generation X (GenX): 1965- 1980

  • Experienced the start of technology
  • Outcome oriented and financially conservative
  • ‘Latchkey kids’
  • Lack of solid traditions as divorce rates were high in this period
  • Embrace change
  • Need for empowerment- competitive, self- reliant

Generation Y (GenY or Millenials): 1981- 2000

  • Exposed to technology from birth
  • Technically literate, opinionated and educated
  • Ambitious and self- assured
  • Has less direction than the other generations
  • Feeling entitled
  • Expect other generations to adapt to them
  • Impatient

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These are merely stereotypes of the generation cohorts and even though some are excluded from the generalisations, I must say that these have been proven to be true. The Millenials are the newest generation to enter into the workforce and conflicts have risen because of this. In a sense, generations can be viewed as cultures or ethnicities. Why do people see the need to adapt and understand different cultures and different ethnicities, even different people from the same ethnic group/ culture but in a different walk of life? Is this really that important? The answer is yes, yes it is. Not only for business, but also in life. 

Then, let me ask you this:

Why DO we have generation gaps everywhere? Is it REALLY necessary to have policies and procedures inside the company for how to deal with different generations?

Although some basic guidelines may be needed, disciplinary actions that will be taken, for example, or policies and procedures to be followed in case of a disagreement. However, is the ‘management’ of each generation really required? Is it not just common sense how to handle people from different cohorts? I, personally, have trouble relating to some people but that is just because of a lack of exposure. That is basically what it comes down to- exposure. And in a way, the willingness of the individual- from any generation- to understand and adapt.

For a manager to successfully manage ANYONE, it is important to implement a management style that is catered to all generations from all walks of life from all cultures. However, it is also important to understand the characteristics, experiences and influences of each individual. Not necessarily to write up strategies or policies, but more so to encourage and promote a harmonious workplace with a familial culture.

PPNBStripes

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3 thoughts on “Generation Gaps in the Workplace

  1. I am definitely a confused individual – I seem to take certain aspects from all generations & really hate my fellow millenials work ethic (or lack thereof!!!!).

    • Yes, I do tend to agree that our generation does not have a strong work ethic like our predecessors. I am happy to say I am not one of them. But I think that the lack of work ethic comes from the entitlement that we as a generation apparently feel. Since GenYers believe that it is a favour to the company to work for them, work commitment is very hard to come across.

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