How to Effectively Communicate and Manage Multiple Generations
By John Ely Senior Vice President of Marketing, Signature Worldwide | October 28, 2008
I am a Baby Boomer. I manage a staff of Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials, and work with a set of Traditionalists. I think you see where I'm going here.
As you might imagine, I have little or no trouble relating to the other Boomers on my staff, however, when it come to the Gen Xers and especially the Millennials, let's just say that I can sometimes be "out of touch." Being a marketer, my first line of defense is research when faced with an issue, and relating to, managing and working with a multigenerational workforce was just such an issue for me.
Last year I started a research project to better understand all of these different generations. Some of the results were expected, and some were not, but it was amazing how people of those generational groups behave alike, have similar expectations (especially when it comes to customer service) and have comparable learning styles.
Hopefully, my findings will help you in managing your own multigenerational teams. For the purpose of this article, I'll start by sharing a quick description of the four primary groups that makeup today's workforce.
First, we have the Traditionalists. These folks were born between 1900 and 1945, and are also referred to as "The Greatest Generation" in a book by Tom Brokaw. Although many of the people at the tail end of this generation are approaching the "traditional" retirement age, many are still in the workforce and are simply working less as opposed to taking a full retirement.