As time passes, the generations making up the workforce continually change and adapt to the ever-evolving demands of technology, work-life balance and social media. For the first time in modern history the workforce is comprised of four distinct generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. While there have always been multiple generations working in tandem, never has a workforce had to navigate such rapid technological advancement and varying attitudes toward work. Employing a generationally diverse group provides organizations with an array of different skills set, ideas and talent that if managed properly can deliver optimal results.
Older generations (Baby Boomers and Generation X) bring unparalleled institutional knowledge and a die-hard work ethic that is priceless to an organization. However, due to the progression in technology and the birth of social media, there is a knowledge gap. As a result, there is a lack of technological skills and highly varying levels of adaptability. On the opposite side of the coin, younger generations (Millennials and Generation Z) provide technology-based skills and fresh ideas to progress business into the new era; but they’re not without their shortcomings. This group prioritizes “work-life balance” with life often outweighing work. Additionally, a key feature of this cohort is a need for instant gratification. These tendencies often result in the younger generation being stereotyped as lazy and a questionable asset to an organization.
A combination of these generational strengths and weaknesses allow for something great in the workplace; dual mentorship. I’m able to speak to the power of this first hand. As a Millennial in the workforce I have had the opportunity to work alongside a Boomer. Every day we work together to improve the power of the whole. He helps me to refine my sales skills by sharing his knowledge of interpersonal communication that my generation tends to struggle with. In turn, I help him to streamline his workload to maximize his time and effort. To conclude, a generationally diverse group is an invaluable resource for both organizations and their employees.