By: Debra Kabalkin on February 25th, 2014

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The Best Solution to Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce

Communication | Diversity & Inclusion | Business Management & Strategy | Employee Relations

Did you know there are five generations in today's modern workforce?

Now, if we could just get everyone to all work together! Let's take a quick review of each generation and their traits before we delve into the common problems we see our clients face...





Workers born before 1946

Loyal, respectful of authority, stubbornly independent, excellent work ethic, dependable, and have advanced communication and interpersonal skills.

Baby Boomers

Workers born between 1946 – 1965

Well-educated, question authority, excellent teamwork skills, and thrive on adrenaline-charged assignments.

Generation X

Workers born between  1965-1980

Independent, family-focused, intolerant of bureaucracy, critical, hardworking, and socially responsible.

Generation Y (Millennials)

Born 1981-1995

Highly socialized, loyal, technologically savvy, socially responsible, and require work-life balance.

Generation Z (Linksters)

Born after 1995

Technologically dependent, closely tied to parents, involved in green causes and social activism.

Download our FREE Whitepaper on Managing a Multigenerational Workplace and Developing Talent

What are some of the problems that leaders face with today's multi-generational workforce?

  1. Older workers may have health problems, disabilities or physical limitations. Unfortunately, the likelihood of having a disability increases with age; reported rates double from 19.4 percent for ages 45-54 to 38.4 percent for ages 65-69.¹
  2. Technology differences are a major problem between the generations. As workforce expands, the comfort level gap with computers, mobile devices, tablets, and social media does too. The Millennial generation expects that their work environment is digital, quick and collaborative. While the Traditionalists and Boomers need more training and time to adjust to the technology and tools they have not become accustomed to.
  3. Perceptions between the different generations can cause problems. The older generations (Traditionals and Boomers) seems to look at the young generation (Gen Y) as though they're not very committed, and they don't want to work as hard because they are looking for work-life balance.
  4. Problems can arise when younger bosses manage workers of a significantly different age group. The Boomer generation may say they won't work for younger supervisors because younger bosses have dictatorial attitudes as they supervise older employees.

How do you integrate the generations?

Training is the solution! Whether it is offering leadership classes for the younger supervisors (to teach them how to manage an older worker), or computer training for the older workers (so they can collaborate with the younger generations). Trainers need to understand what learning activities are most engaging for learners today and recognize the significance of each learner’s contribution and should seek regular feedback to ensure learning is taking place. If you'd like to explore a tailored training program for your team, feel free to reach out!

1. Erica Steinmetz, (2006). Americans with Disabilities: 2002. Household Economic Studies U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Reports Issued May 2006