Clash of the Generational Titans: Is Your Organization Ready?

By 2025, millennials will comprise ~75% of the global workforce.

Bearing that in mind, the wide range of generations active in today’s workforce each view their daily work lives differently from one another.  And to further complicate matters, along with multi-generational workers in the workplace, there are also multiple types of workers:  full-time, part-time, temporary, independent contracting, freelancing, and more.  Total talent management planning becomes essential.

With such a cross-generational workforce emerging, how can we best identify and optimize the talents of each?

  • Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) – Boomers and suburbia came hand-in-hand. This is a generation of loyalists and hard-working competitors.  They are generally career-focused and believe in paying dues to advance over time within an organization.  Typically against working remotely, this generation also expects to retire later in life.
  • Traits of Gen X (born between 1965 and 1979) – Often referred to as the “MTV Generation,” Gen Xers lean more toward self-actualization than settling in with a long-term career and family. They tend to average seven career changes in their lifetimes and are often seen as creative and nostalgic.  Still, Gen Xers tend to appreciate stability in the workplace, though to a lesser degree than the Baby Boomers who came before them.
  • Traits of Gen Y or Millennials (born between 1979 and 1994) – Known as sophisticated, technology-savvy, and less brand loyal, they are the social media, cell phone, and Google generation. With unlimited access to information, they tend to be assertive and hold strong views. Millennials are largely driving the explosion of freelancing, offering their expertise through technology on project-by-project bases.
  • Traits of Gen Z (born between 1994 and 2012) – Technology is a sixth sense for Gen Zers. They have never known a world without computers and cell phones. This generation often struggles to perform and focus while in an atmosphere of distraction. Globally focused, obsessed with visuals, Z is predicated on social media statuses.

With more and more millennials entering the workforce and managerial positions, what are their goals and preferred workplace attributes?

  • Career advancement: Frequent professional development and career advancement opportunities
  • Financial stability: Recognition and rewards that provide stability
  • Technology: Integration of the social and emerging technologies
  • Managerial training: Skill enhancement courses, talent assessment and development initiatives that foster effective performance
  • Work/life balance: Proportionate value placed on work and personal responsibilities

For years, leading organizations have invested effort and resources into understanding the different generational work styles. With the emergence of Gen Z, considerations may become further complicated in the staffing and outsourcing worlds.  Appropriate talent attraction strategies and partners are key.