Each generation is shaped by their common geography, the
economic and political events of their time, technology and the
parenting style with which they were raised.
Friction between generations arises when behavioral habits and
preferences clash. And no two generations clash more than
boomers and millennials, according to Curt Steinhorst of the
Center for Generational Kinetics (GenHQ).
- “On time” for a boomer means 10 minutes early. For
millennials, 10 minutes late still counts as punctual.
- Boomers aren’t shy about scheduling in-person meetings to
share ideas or information and view the long, explanatory
paragraphs in their emails as good communication.
Millennials, with their technology dependency, prefer to text
important information. Raised as visual learners, millennials
use videos and images to share ideas or information.
- Boomers, like traditionalists, consider adulthood to begin
in the early 20s. Millennials consider age 30 the start
“When your new 27-year-old hire shows up for his first job, you
may expect him to be as mature and experienced as you were,”
said Steinhorst, a millennial whose company does generational
research. “But guess what? He may be more like a mid-teen,”
when compared to earlier generations of workers.
Rather than see differences as points of frustration and
aggravation, Steinhorst urges generations to look for the
strengths that come from a diverse workforce.
Motivation. Boomers live to work. Millennials work to live.
Understanding this difference is critical to an employer or
business owner interested in retaining good employees. While
the boomer generation is loyal to their companies and jobs,
millennials are loyal to causes and to individual leaders who
earn their trust and respect. Millennials are okay with taking a
pay cut to do work they believe in. The purpose or mission of an
organization is key to winning them over.
Work-Life Balance. A flexibility study by WorkplaceTrencs.com
found that three quarters of employees value workplace
flexibility as their top benefit. For millennials, pay is less
meaningful than flexibility in their hours and the location
Innovation. In the workplace, millennials tend to disrupt the
status quo, which is essential for innovation. They also are
the best educated generation in U.S. history. The “doer” side
of the generation knows it’s not really the job of the older
generations to always cater to their needs. Make them feel
valued, challenged and included and they will strive to
make a difference on the job – to solve problems with