AWI e-briefs - 04/01/2010 (Plain Text Version)

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Managing Multiple Generations in the Workplace

With four generations of employees in today’s workplace, age-related diversity issues are increasingly significant. To cultivate a more cohesive environment, companies must educate themselves and their employees about generational differences.

Traditionalists, also known as "Veterans," are 63 years or older. They are:

  • Loyal
  • Conservative
  • Detail-oriented
  • Respectful of authority
  • Acknowledgement-seeking

    Baby Boomers are approximately 44-62 years old. Many plan to work past retirement age. Regarded as the largest and most influential generation, Baby Boomers are:
  • Competitive
  • "Workaholics"
  • Optimistic
  • Results-oriented
  • Respect-seeking
  • Personally fulfilled by workplace contributions
  • Relationship-focused
  • Nonconformists

    Generation X-ers are 28 to 43 years old. They are:
  • Independent
  • Appreciative of structure and direction, but not micromanagement
  • Loyal, but unattached to any one organization
  • Fans of flexibility and work-life balance

    Generation Y, also known as the "Millennials," are age 27 and younger. This technologically-savvy generation, which has the highest turnover rate, is fast-approaching the Baby Boomers in numbers. They are:
  • Confident non-conformists
  • Collaborative
  • Open-minded
  • Socially conscious
  • Demanding
  • Seeking personal satisfaction in their work
  • Multi-taskers who want work-life balance

    How can organizations help these four groups work better together?

    1. Adjust communication.
    A Traditionalist or Baby Boomer might prefer a face-to-face meeting whereas a Generation X or Y employee may prefer e-mail. Employees need to accommodate each group’s style.

    2. Encourage mentoring.
    Mentoring allows employees to learn from one another. Older employees are equally eager to learn as their younger colleagues.

    3. Customize motivation and incentives.
    While older employees may value monetary incentives, younger employees might prefer time off.

    4. Conduct more creative recruiting.
    Consider flexible hours and telecommuting, which appeals to younger and older workers alike, or offering volunteering as a benefit to attract Generation Y, which has the highest volunteer rate.

    Article provided by Administaff (NYSE: ASF), the nation’s leading professional employer organization (PEO), serving as a full-service human resources department that provides small and medium-sized businesses with administrative relief, big-company benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity.  The company operates 49 sales offices in 24 major markets. For more information about Administaff, call 800.465.3800 or visit Administaff is an AWI Affinity Partner.
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