Mixing and Managing Four Generations of Employees

From the above table, you can easily see why Generation X cannot understand what their grandparents mean by the traditional family or what fun it was to spend Christmas together as a family. Are you worried about the possibility of your Baby Boomer children being unable to retire or having to move in with you or their children as they reach the latter years of their lives? Possibly you should be.

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• A top-notch, cross-functional team with individuals from several different generations has been set up to recommend a solution to a nasty manufacturing problem. After a couple of weeks, the manager responsible for the team cannot understand why there is constant bickering and nothing is getting done. If the manager were aware of just one characteristic of each individual relating to communication needs, he or she might understand the stalemate. The Veterans on the team are looking for handwritten notes and direct, specific requests for work to be done. The Boomers do not like to work independently, and they expect to have meetings any time, any place — and it is fine if they are called day or night. Xers do not want to hear about the project outside of work, and don’t dare call them at home. And the Yers don’t want any meetings at all, they only communicate via voice mail and e-mail. Is it any wonder that the team is having trouble getting motivated toward the goal? At the beginning of any team formation, an effective leader should consider spending time learning how team members wish to communicate.

Generation X (Gen X) Definition | Investopedia

• At annual appraisal time, a manager from the Veterans generation gives out a nice bonus for a project well done. The Generation X employee is ungrateful and says, “Why didn’t I get this six months ago, when the project was completed?” Gen X wants instant gratification, whereas a person in the Veterans generation is happy to get money anytime. The solution here may be for the company to explore reward plans geared to the different generations, or things like monetary rewards and recognition given at the time when it is earned.