For the first time in our history as a nation, we have five generations of employees working side-by-side. This provides leaders the opportunity to leverage skill sets across diverse groups of people to elevate their organizations to new and exciting heights.
For the first time in our history as a nation, we have five generations of employees working side-by-side. This provides leaders the opportunity to leverage skill sets across diverse groups of people to elevate their organizations to new and exciting heights. Additionally, this diversity affords the potential for previous generations to mentor newer employees into the fold of the workforce and guide their learning with the authenticity of experience. There’s no hiding the fact that those folks have ‘been there, done that.’
However, there’s no shortage of challenges to guiding and leading this robust group of people. Each of these employees has their own influences and experiences by which their life has been shaped, their preferred method of being motivated, communication style, and worldview. When assembled, we can begin to see themes emerge in how each generation approaches work, expectations, and mindsets.
The purpose of this article is to educate you on what it will take to lead your team or organization when you have a mix of folks from various generation groups working toward the same goal or in the same department, division, unit, or company. According to Purdue University Global, one size doesn’t fit all in today’s workforce – five generations means five approaches to work.
Leadership requires you to educate yourself so that you can better understand those who, at least from a generational perspective, may be different from you. According to the Pew Research Center, these generations are identified and are comprised of the following percentages of our workforce in 2020: Traditionalists (2%), Baby Boomers (25%), Generation X (33%), Millennials (35%), and Generation Z (5%).
However, there is also caution. That caution is not to paint the canvas with a broad brush and think that because a person may be a Baby Boomer, they couldn’t or wouldn’t have tendencies outside their generational norms. An example of this is how each of us was raised and influenced by the previous generation. It’s not uncommon for Gen Xers to embrace many of the traits associated with Baby Boomers or even Traditionalists. So, wade carefully, and avoid labeling or exclusivities in your patterns of thinking – instead, think in terms of themes.
Here are some tips and information on each generation and guidance on how to engage. The following information, developed by Purdue University, reflects themes, traits, and ideas leaders can access to make more informed decisions. This information is essential regarding your workforce and offers you the greatest chance to make informed decisions because you can discern how people are shaped by their experiences, motivations, preferred communication styles, and views of the world around them.
To learn more about specific strategies and information on this leadership topic, enroll today in our E-Learning platform, and take the self-paced course titled Leading a Multigenerational Workforce. As always, best of luck and continued success to you, and remember to live and lead with purpose & passion.