There are many ways we bridge gaps in our workplace environment from gender, race, culture, origin, and age. When it comes to age, however, there’s so much more that comes with it than the years we’ve existed. Our work ethic, motivation, and natural tendencies seem to revolve around our environment and society. There are six generations that exist today whonkijely meet specific traits for the workplace.
G1 are generally born on or around 1936 and experienced major events like WWI and the Great Depression. During this time period people could only buy when they were allowed to, rations were common-place, and hoarding may have been common. Traits of this generation included formalities and uniformity. It was more important for public interest than personal gain. Everything surrounded around making sure everyone had the necessities to survive and worked together make it day to day.
This is my grandparents generation. Technically, my father falls under this as well. During the Great Depression, this forced people to be more cautious to not wasting anything. Living on a farm, my father grew up eating various parts of animals, not just the shoulder, leg, or wing. There is less waste for this generation. Use what you have and buy only what you need.
The Silent Generation are about 67-75 years old now. They also grew up in the Great Depression, but they also grew up during WWII, and when the television and telephones hit retailers. Entertainment and communication was no longer required people to be face to face!
I suppose my mother falls under Silent Generation and my father has these traits, too. They are very loyal to their companies and organizations. And hard work comes way more naturally for this generation than that of future generations. While my mother is often busy planning her community organization conventions, my father still works full time and recently celebrated 45 years of loyalty with his union.
The Baby Boomers are around 48-66 these days. They’ve grown up in the age of civil rights and female liberation. There is much social turmoil and aggression in some areas.
My aunts and uncles fall in this generation. They tend to be explorers and optimistic. While my aunts went into education realm, my uncles were business owners and engineers.
My brothers and I all fall in this generation during the war in Vietnam, Watergate, and the start of MTV. These 36-47 year olds tend to be individualistic and skeptical of authority. This may attest to friction between supervisors and this generation.
It seems we do have some issues with older supervisors and tend to prefer to be individuals, different from everyone else. This goes from what we wear to the cars we drive and most importantly, be different than everyone else in our work environment.
Millennial grew up in the age of AIDS and advancement of technology. I also have some Millenial traits. Millenials tend to be tech-comfortable and family centric. We have optimism like that of the Baby Boomer Generation.
In this generation there are now more ecommerce small businesses and these consumers prefer shopping online for cheaper rates and comparison shopping. The world as we know it revolves around technology.
The hardly talked about Generation Z is the 18 and younger, still in school or possibly graduating from college group. These individuals grew up with personalized everything from Facebook profiles to SnapChat communities when the market crashed and our country is sending troops to the Middle East after the tragedy on 9/11.
This is the generation of my nieces and nephews and my son. These young ones will soon be entering our work force if they haven’t already. They aren’t trusting of the political system and are always connected. They bring multi-tasking to a whole new level than ever before.
Bridging the gap:
The graphic above is just an example of the various generations. It’s a give and take for the “cut-off” years where some of us blend into more than one generation. It is important to consider when and there individuals grew up to better understand them and their work ethic and personalities.
We must remember that everyone has struggles we know nothing about and it is best to be uplifting and encouraging. We should continue to build relationships with each individual person we interact with as much as we can. And offer assistance wherever possible.
How do the generation gaps affect your work environment?