Keys to Generational Differences
While having a discussion about the overall differences between the four generations in the workforce today, I realized I have not shared this information with the majority of my clients and the readers of Insights. So today I will share a brief description of the focus differences between the four generations.
So here are the dates of birth for the four generations and their key focus…
How to gain focus and purpose while communicating with the four generations of people in the workforce today.
Traditionalist (born 1928 to 1945)
In your communication emphasize respect, standards and the how to process.
Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1960)
In your communication emphasize opportunities to solve problems, challenge them and show promotion availability.
Generation Xers (born 1961 to 1980)
During your communication emphasize work-life balance, interesting and meaningful work is important to them and their must have developmental opportunities – even non-job related learning.
Generation Yers ( born 1981 to 2000)
When communicating to this group, you emphasize fast decision-making, show their stimulating work, provide teams, broad learning environments and the ability for change.
We will be having a fifth generation soon, yet, they have not been identified with a title at this time. I will let you know as soon as this group acquires a name.
The other interesting point is the numbers of people in each group. The Traditionalist are declining rapidly as they age, so their numbers are declining each year, therefore, there is smaller number of traditionalist still in the workforce today due to death and retirement. The boomers began with a strong birth rate of over 80 million people and have dominated the workforce since the 1980’s and their numbers in the workforce will begin to decline as they are entering the retirement ages.
The Baby Boomers are having a problem retiring like their traditional parents due to two factors: Heavy losses in the financial markets have made it more difficult to fund the retirement years and maintain their current lifestyle. The second factor which is related to the first – a large number of retirement age individuals have lost their pensions due to the bankruptcies of companies during this last recession as well as during the troubled 90’s and after 9/11 companies used the bankruptcy laws to eliminate pension plan disbursements for cash flow reasons. Thus, a generation of baby boomers have lost their pension benefits due to corporate management issues.
The Xer’s only had a birth rate of 45 million or only half as many people as the baby boom generation. This will and has lead to a shortage of qualified middle managers and supervisors at organizations today. And, as more boomers retire, this shortage will become greater and create more management and leadership shortage issues. Organizations will have to look for talent outside the United States or get ready to promote Yer’s who have little experience or maturity at this point.
The Y Generation is coming into the mainstream of the workforce in large numbers as their numbers are as high as the baby boomers at some 78 million and climbing with the high birth rates during the first decade of the 21st century. Get ready for an aggressive and assertive group that have the same drive as the original traditionalist without the conservatism of the Great Depression experience. Some of the guru’s of economic study believe this group will create similar conditions during the next decade as the boomers during the 70’s – lower productivity rates and very high inflation rates. The perfect storm of high debt, slow economic recovery, lower productivity rates due to a lack of experience and leadership could make this time period a real interesting decade.
For more information of the economic impact of the generational birthrates, check out the books from Harry Dent. He just released a new book on this topic. After I read the book, I will put a review on my Business Book Reviews by Voss Graham for you.