The Johnsons examine the generational signposts each generation share that shapes their attitudes.
The Traditional Generation, born between 1909 and 1945, represent about 8 percent of the workforce. World War II and the Great Depression created an environment in which this generation became accustomed to postponing gratification. They understand the importance of loyalty. Seek them out and benefit from their wisdom.
The Baby Boomers, born from 1946 to 1964, are known as the teamwork generation. They grew up sharing everything, sometimes even desks in the classroom. “Baby Boomers like to have meetings to talk about the next meeting,” Meagan Johnson says. Baby Boomers in the workplace are a wealth of information. Set up a shadowing program so that they can pass on their knowledge to younger employees before they retire.
Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, were latchkey kids who watched “Sesame Street.” They expect work to be entertaining to some degree and they are independent workers and learners. “Their attitude is `Tell me what you want done, give me the training and leave me alone.” They tend to question authority and they need to understand the big picture. They view jobs as experiences. So ask yourself, “What’s unique about your store that can provide an experience for Gen X employees.”
Generation Y, or the echo boom, born between 1980 and 1995, are highly dependent on their parents, whom they consider trusted advisers, and require constant feedback. It doesn’t all have to be positive all the time, either. “Give them feedback all the time,” Meagan Johnson suggests. “Become part of their trusted advisers from the beginning. They CAN handle coaching and direction from trusted advisers.” But don’t scare them off with words like “probation.” There’s no legal reason to use that term, Meagan Johnson says.
Remember, too, that older generations often are suspicious or dismissive of the workplace newcomers. In 1968, for example, a magazine article complained that boomers were disloyal, complaining and disrespectful as well as lazy, entitled and desiring of instant gratification. Those are words often used today by employers to refer to Gen Y.blog comments powered by Disqus