There are five different generations working side by side in the workplace today. These five generations include the Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z. Each group comes with different work styles and habits. The following is a breakdown of each generation and tips for working successfully with each.
- Traditionalists (born between 1922 and 1945) – Approximately 95% of Traditionalists are retired from the workforce, according to TheBalanceCareers.com. However, those who refuse to quit the grind are known to be hardworking and loyal. Traditionalists are team players, task-oriented and disciplined. When working with Traditionalists, it’s important to keep them engaged and up-to-speed with new developments, and always find time to connect with them in-person.
- Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) – Baby Boomers continue to be a prominent aspect of today’s workplace. Americans 55 and over made up about half of all employment gains in 2018, according to The Liscio Report. Baby Boomers are goal-oriented, work-centric and devoted to work ethic. They can bridge the gap in the workplace as leaders for younger generations, sharing industry insights and tricks of the trade they’ve collected over the years.
- Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) – In between the boomers and millennials, Gen Xers are also an essential part of today’s workforce. They are known for an entrepreneurial mindset and work hard, play hard thinking. Gen Xers know life before and after the tech boom, so they can adapt to change easily. When working with Gen Xers, note that they value collaboration, productivity, fast turnarounds and efficiency, and they dislike micromanagement.
- Generation Y (born between 1981 and 1996) – Widely known as the Millennials, Gen Yers now make up a significant portion of the American workforce (hitting 50% in 2020, according to MRI Network). As the fastest growing segment of the workforce, Millennials are creative, ambitious and tech-savvy. This young generation seeks out creative challenges, personal growth and meaningful careers. They are excellent multi-taskers and prefer communication electronically.
- Generation Z (born after 1996) – Last, but not least, are the Gen Zers. According to Forbes, there are 61 million individuals in this group and they are about to change the workforce. While they are a fully digital generation, Gen Zers seek a collaborative, team-friendly environment and crave positive relationships at work that go beyond online or social media. If you’re managing a Gen Z employee, offer time to give them feedback to drive their productivity and work output.
Of course, the most important tip for building a successful relationship with any co-worker is to get to know them as an individual. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses that may – or may not – line up with their generational expectations. Embracing our differences will only make teams stronger in the long run.