Today’s workplace is multigenerational and can include up to five different generations all working together.
• Traditionalist born 1922-1945
• Baby Boomer born 1946–1964
• Generation X born 1965–1980
• Generation Y (Millennials) born 1981–1995
• Generation Z born after 1995
From the employee mix to emerging technology to services provided, it’s a dynamic time for employers and employees. Long-held assumptions are fleeting. Age is no longer synonymous with seniority. A new idea no longer presumes better. Even lines between industries are blurring as innovation transforms consumer expectations by the day.
One through line is that the workplace is more personal than ever. It’s no longer enough to define work solely as what we do. Now, what we do is part of an intricate weaving of who we are, how we work, and why we work, for example.
With that context, simmering “us versus them” perceptions among the different generations of employees has a significant influence on workplace cultures and, ultimately, overall success. Age is not a barometer of value. An employee’s generational identity, however, – characterized by different experiences, priorities, expectations, work styles, and motivators – shapes an employee’s performance and, in turn, contribution to and connection with an organization overall.
As Baby Boomers begin to retire, and Generations X, Y, and Z, continue to grow within the workforce, there is no time like the present to bridge the “us versus them” gap, align visions and build productive relationships moving forward.
Everyone has something to offer.
The key to unlocking that potential is to get to know, embrace, and activate the generational identities that make up today’s multigenerational workplace.
Dr. Candace Steele Flippin is a multigenerational workplace scholar, author and public affairs expert.