GENERATIONS ON GENERATIONS

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The American workplace has certainly changed as we have transitioned from the old century to the new one. Improvements in standards of living, nutrition, lifestyle, healthcare, and wellness have increased lifespan. There never has been a better time to be alive and working.

These better times translate to more generations actively participating in the workplace. Interesting dynamics never seen before have arisen. For example, the generation that came into this world from about 1980 to 2000 is called the millennials. The millennials now exceed the baby boomers in numbers. In spite of how powerful an effect the baby boomers have had and will continue to have on our society, in a sense because of their size, the millennials will be the “new baby boomers.” Companies are continuing to adjust their management style to connect more effectively with the millennials.

We are currently in an American workplace never seen in the past. For the first time, the argument can be made that we have five distinct generations working side by side. That has created and will continue to create exciting and important opportunities. Some organizations have effectively carried the ball past the goal posts thereby capitalizing on each generation’s value. Other organizations have fumbled the ball thereby losing each generation’s value.

If you want your organization to be known for the touchdowns instead of the fumbles, then you absolutely must reassess everything that you do with an awareness of this unprecedented generational mix. Not every generation thinks the same way on any number of topics or factors about the workplace. This does not necessarily mean that one generation is intrinsically wrong or right. It does mean that we all should be more open to new approaches about how we do business together. Here is a very short list of some of the areas that you would do well to reassess within your organization to keep everyone on the winning track:

  • HR policies.
  • Values.
  • Employee motivations.
  • Communication styles.
  • Social media.
  • Societal trends.
  • Software and hardware.
  • Healthcare and wellness.
  • Family structure.
  • Higher education.
  • Mentoring.
  • Benefits and perks.
  • Training approaches.
  • Career pathing.
  • Leadership development and succession planning.

As any good chef knows, when you have more ingredients in the recipe, you should be able to make a superior dish. It’s just a matter of getting all those great ingredients to work together. We can do exactly that with our multiple generations in the workplace today.


About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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