Can’t We All Just Get Along at Work?

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For the first time in our history there are four generations working side by side. In addition to the normal workplace conflict, this employee configuration presents special misunderstandings. A productive organization with gratified employees is easier to achieve when parties can empathize with each other. Below are a few key characteristics that may help bridge the generation gap at work.

 

Traditionalists (Also called Radio Babies)
Birth Years: 1900-1945
Family: Silent/Forgotten
War: World War II
Government: New Deal
Events: Space Age
Values: Rules/Conformity
Attributes: Loyal, Patriotic, Strong Work Ethic
Education: A Dream
Technology: Adapted
Employee Assets: Loyal, Disciplined, Employee Liabilities Avoid Conflict
Communication Style: Discrete, Formal

 

Baby Boomers
Birth Years: 1946-1964
Family: Me
War: Vietnam War
Government: Cold War
Events: Civil Rights
Values: Equal Rights
Attributes: Ambitious, Competitive, Strong Work Ethic
Education: A Birth Right
Technology: Acquired
Employee Assets: Mission-Oriented, Big Picture
Employee Liabilities: Can Be Judgmental if Disagree with Them
Communication Style: Diplomatic, Friendly

 

Generation X
Birth Years: 1965-1980
Family: Latch Key
War: Operation Desert Storm
Government: Watergate
Events: Y2K
Values: Self-Reliance
Attributes: Adaptable, Results-Driven, Pragmatic
Education: An Open Door
Technology: Assimilated
Employee Assets: Direct Communicator, Thrive on Flexibility
Employee Liabilities: Skeptical
Communication Style: Blunt, Factual

 

Millennials (Also called Generation Y)
Birth Years: 1981-2000
Family: Blended
War: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Government: First Biracial President
Events: School Shootings
Values: Civic Duty
Attributes: Innovative, Sociable, Entitlement
Education: A Huge Expense
Technology: Integral
Employee Assets: Multi-Taskers, Collaborators
Employee Liabilities: Impatient
Communication Style: Polite, Show Humanity

 

4 Generations in the Work Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Which characteristics do you think are very accurate?
• What would you add to this chart?

 

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Nicki Sanders, The Packaged For Success Coach, is an experienced trainer, group facilitator, and program manager. She has packaged her Masters of Social Work degree and over 15 years of work experience into Packaged For Success, a training and professional development company. Packaged For Success provides career coaching to college students, entry-level job hunters, and experienced employees seeking a promotion. Packaged For Success also offers communication and productivity improvement training for employees and supervisors and provides consultation on building sustainable, impactful, socially responsible community programs.

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