Forbes recently reported that the average workplace houses up to four generations: veterans, who were born before 1946; Baby Boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964; members of Generation X, who were born between 1965 and 1979, and Millennials, who were born between 1980 and 2000.
Of these groups, there are approximately 66 million Baby Boomers and approximately 90 million Millennials in the U.S. workforce. Despite some marked differences between the two, they make great teams. Their contrasting communication, work and life styles can prove to be a strong asset, if managed effectively.
What Baby Boomers Offer
Baby Boomers are typically hard-working and productive, willing to put in long hours to get the job done, and act as skilled team players who like to feel valued within their organization. They are capable of breaking large projects down into manageable sections and delegating tasks appropriately. Baby Boomers often are direct, diplomatic communicators who prefer to have conversations face to face.
- Millennials can learn a lot from Baby Boomers regarding loyalty and what it’s like to stay with a single company. Up to 90 percent of Millennials leave any given job in less than three years.
Baby Boomers tend to:
- Have an intangible wisdom that comes from decades of relationships and experiences.
- Want to see the world become a better place for their kids and grandkids.
- Have an uneven relationship with the capabilities of technology and how it works.
- Want to give back and pass along the things they have learned.
What Millennials Bring to the Table
Millennials are “digital natives” who intuitively understand and embrace technology. They want mentors who can guide them and explain what mistakes to avoid in order to maximize their progress and contributions. They are able to work incredibly hard when motivated to do so. They are goal-oriented collaborators who crave open, honest working relationships. While they rely heavily on digital communications, they believe that important messages should be conveyed in person.
A Winning Combination
Mastering the balance of generational differences can yield some impressive results for your business and your brand image. Finding a way to respect and successfully utilize these different perspectives is key for a well-balanced workplace.
- Recognize that both groups have an important trait in common: They want to be shown respect. Baby Boomers crave acknowledgment from younger colleagues. Millennials feel they deserve recognition, regardless of their age or level of experience.
- Baby Boomers and Millennials can complement each other well. Millennials who are new to your team require direction and guidance. Boomers can fill this need and provide mentoring and wisdom to their younger coworkers. Reverse mentoring can also be an exciting dynamic.
- It’s a two-way street. Since the older generation is more attuned to working long hours, they can learn a thing or two from Millennials about work/life balance. The younger generation tends to look for jobs that allow them adequate time to maintain a healthy personal and social life. Baby Boomers also can take some lessons from Millennials on effectively leveraging technology.
- Encourage mutually beneficial working relationships. Create a transparent environment that fosters communication and collaboration. Let everyone feel like they have a stake in the future direction of your business – because they do. Plus, this helps both groups to see and accept the other’s viewpoint.
As you build your winning workforce, call on the experts at Pridestaff Modesto to help develop and implement your ongoing talent management strategy. Contact us today so we can set up an informational meeting.