Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers, and Millennials have been the core generations that employers have long tailored the workplace environment and incentives to. All have very diverse goals, needs, and work styles that require accommodation in order to thrive in their positions.

Entering today’s workforce is the fourth generation, labeled Generation Z. Gen Z are individuals born between the late 1990s and 2010 that are starting to graduate college and join the sales world as independent adults.

We know that Boomers are incredibly loyal, Gen Xers are independent, Millennials seek reassurance and collaboration, and Gen Zers are more diverse than ever. How can employers possibly manage and motivate such a multigenerational workplace?

Diverse Traits and Work Values of Each Generation

Over the next decade, a major challenge in almost every industry will be to attract and retain a skilled workforce as the labor market continues to tighten and technology continues to evolve. Each generation has its own distinct characteristics, values, and attitudes toward work.

To successfully blend these diverse generations, radical changes in recruitment and benefits need to be embraced and creating a culture that actively demonstrates respect and inclusion for a multigenerational team is essential. Here are some of the values and work traits broken down by each generation:

Baby Boomers

  • Strong work ethic
  • Optimistic
  • Mentors
  • Hierarchical culture
  • Value respect

Gen X-ers

  • Strong communicators
  • Innovative
  • Seek problem-solving opportunities
  • Autonomy
  • Competent colleagues
  • Seek trustworthy employer

Millennials

  • Collaborative
  • Tech-savvy
  • Fixated on the greater good
  • Seek empathetic employer
  • Always training for new skills
  • Desire flexibility
  • Want meaningful work

Gen Z-ers

  • Practical
  • Develop best in diverse workforces
  • Digitally fluent
  • Desire a culturally competent employer
  • Want mentorship and stability
  • Seek competitive wages

Multigenerational Workplaces

Employers who understand the attitudes, values, work ethic, and motivators of each generation can do a better job of hiring, coaching, and retaining top talent. Employees who understand the differences across generational gaps do a better job collaborating and performing better.

No matter what an employee’s age or the generation they represent—transparency, strong leadership, and a consistent effort to keep employees engaged makes anyone, at any age, feel valued for their contributions.

Forget Grandma’s golden rule, “treat others how you wish to be treated,” and embrace the Platinum Rule, “treat others the way they want or need to be treated.” Certain strategies will work better for some companies than others, so try them, measure success, and tweak them as you go. If you’re ready to take your D&I training to a new level, contact me today!