Generational Differences at Work

Generational Differences at Work

Successful Companies Understand and Respond

Posted by Midwest Energy Association (MEA)
Successful Practice Challenge:  Now that Boomers are at least 50 and Generation Xers are at least 30, and Millennials are right behind at work, the three generations must not only co-exist, but thrive together.  If not, their employers will fail.
What defines each generation?  How were they raised differently and how do these differences manifest themselves in life at work? The challenge for great companies is to understand each generation and insure that their needs are met daily in the work place.
Successful Practice Solution:  A recent research report from LifeCourse Associates called, “Why Generations Matter” reports what each generation values in an employer and how well the needs of different generations of workers are – or are not – being met.  Here is a short review of the findings and, in particular, what the generations want regarding training and technology.  A link to the full report is provided at the end of this Successful Practice.
The study included Millennials (age 30 and under), Generation X (ages 31 to 51), and Boomers (ages 52 to 69) who are employed full-time. The survey was conducted through a nationally representative online panel of 1,250 respondents, and was tested again on 4,986 insurance industry employees 2 months later.
Key Findings
  • Generations matter. Nearly three-quarters of respondents agreed, not only that there are important generational differences but also that they ‘sometimes’ or ‘often’ pose challenges in the workplace.
  • Millennials want a social workplace. An overwhelming 68 percent of Millennials agreed that they like to socialize informally and make new friends while at work, about 10 points higher than any other generation.
  • Millennials like their employer, ‘to contribute to social and ethical causes’they think are important, vs. barely half of Boomers and older Gen Xers.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers want cutting-edge technology. High shares of both Millennials and Gen Xers ‘strongly agree’ that they ‘like to work with state-of-the-art technology’, while Boomers rate this as significantly less important. Millennials rate their employers’ performance in this area the lowest.Boomers are mission-focused. Fully 56 percent of older Boomers and 50 percent of younger Boomers ‘strongly agree’ that they want to be ‘100 percent dedicated to the organization’s mission.’ That number declines sharply for older Gen Xers and continues to decline through Millennials, in a remarkable 19-point generational spread.
Why It Matters
Every generation in your workforce needs at some point in their career to be trained. Since the generations grew up in different eras, you must use a variety of different training methods to reach every generation effectively. Make full use of a blended learning approach to ensure that employees of all ages can learn to work safely.
MEA wishes to thank Lifecourse for providing this successful practice.  Download the full study.