Understanding Generational Differences in the Workplace

different generations in the workplace

 

For the first time in history, there are more Millennials than Baby Boomers in the workplace.

To effectively work together, it’s important that each generation understands the others. To do so, the Morgan Hunter team got together to discuss the values, desires, and motivations of each generation. Here’s what we discovered:

 

Identifying the Generations

 

Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial
  • Aged 53-71
  • 77 million
  • Aged 37-52
  • 65 million
  • Aged 20-36
  • 83 million

 

Work Ethic

Asked to describe their work ethic, here’s what each generation had to say about themselves:

 

Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial
  • Responsible
  • Dependable
  • Trustworthy
  • Work hard, play hard
  • Integrity
  • Work with sense of freedom
  • Flexibility
  • Balance

 

Leadership Preferences

We asked everyone to describe how to best lead their generation:

 

Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial
  • What is the goal?
  • Autonomy with accountability
  • Lead by example
  • Autonomous
  • Give me space
  • Collaboration in small teams is a plus

 

What motivates you? What makes you like to come to work?

 

Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial
  • Respect our knowledge
  • Recognition
  • Meaningful, challenging work
  • Fun, challenging work
  • Money
  • Feeling valued
  • Good atmosphere
  • Having a purpose
  • Flexibility to work in way that suits me/my personality

 

What do you appreciate about the other two generations?

 

Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial
  • Millennials – their different way of thinking
  • Gen X – their willingness to ask for what they want
  • Boomers – their knowledge
  • Millennials – the fact that they are tech savvy
  • Boomers – their loyalty
  • Gen X – their work ethic

 

What are the dos and don’ts of selling to your generation?

 

Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial
Do:

  • Be honest
  • Be direct
  • Provide sufficient info

Don’t:

  • Lie
  • Talk down to us
Do:

  • Be authentic
  • Give me the facts

 

Don’t:

  • Beat around the bush

 

Do: 

  • Customize to my interests/likes
  • Have a functioning, well-designed website

Don’t:

  • Pressure us

 

Keys to working with each generation

 

Baby Boomers 

They’ve been around the block and want others in the workplace to value their knowledge. They want work that matters — for many, their work defines who they are. To get along with Baby Boomers, you need to respect their seniority in the workplace and value the knowledge they’ve gained through decades in the workforce.

Generation X

They want independence in the workplace. While they work hard, they value time with their family just as much (maybe even more). To get along with Generation X, you need to offer them a good work/life balance and ensure you are leading by example.

Millennials 

They value autonomy at work, but also like to collaborate in small teams. While they are the youngest in the workplace, they expect to be treated with the same respect as older generations. They are willing to work hard, but want to know that their work has a purpose. To get along with the Millennial generation, give them flexibility (like the opportunity to work remotely) and ensure that they work with the latest technology.

 

About Morgan Hunter

For 30 years, Morgan Hunter has helped connect talented professionals with career opportunities in the Kansas City area. If you’re looking for a new job, check out our latest job openings or contact a recruiter to talk about your job search. If you’re an employer, view our staffing services or contact a recruiter about our staffing solutions today!