The Impact of Generational Differences in the Workplace


Ray B. Williams latest blog post "Why Are You Not Like Me? The Generational Gap In The Workplace" is interesting.

I have never put much faith into blanket statements about any group or generation so I read Ray's blog post with skepticism. For example, Ray has this to say about the differences between Gen X and Y:
Generation X (born 1965-1980 and approximately 55 million in North America) accept diversity; they are skeptical, pragmatic and practical, self-reliant, independent and individualistic; they reject authoritarianism and control. They like a casual, friendly work environment, seek challenge, involvement and flexible learning arrangements. Work-life balance and family priorities are very important to Gen Xers.

Generation Y
(born 1981-1999 and approximately 80 million in North America) celebrate diversity; they are optimistic, inventive and individualistic; they rewrite the rules; they enjoy a pleasurable lifestyle; they don't see the relevance of most institutions; they are masters of technology and social media; were nurtured by their parents; see friends as family; like a collaborative supportive work environment and interactive work relationships; have high demands and expectations; want to work for companies that are socially responsible and they want a balanced life.
But as I read Ray's post I found it offered some very useful information for human resource departments. Ray has done a superb job at aggregating and summarizing the latest thoughts on generational differences in the workplace. This is an increasingly hot HR topic. Consider this - according to a survey by Lee Hecht Harrison Company, 60% of employers are experiencing tension between employees of different generations. The survey found that 70% of older employees are dismissive of younger workers' abilities, and 50% of Gen Y workers were dismissive of older workers' abilities.

Some interesting points summarized from Ray's blog (read the blog for details):
So what do employers and leaders need to know and do to address these generational differences?

Read Ray's blog post - it's good.

If you are interested in this topic visit our HR Directory for a list of articles, research and white papers on the subject of generational differences in the workplace.

And for a related blog post on generational differences and the impact of aging Boomers, see our SeniorCareMarketer blog post Recession Turns a Graying Office Grayer.

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