Generations in the Workplace

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In today’s workplace mixing and managing employees is not an easy thing to do. Nowadays there are four different generations working together in a single office space. This can be a challenge for everyone involved as differences in generations can cause people to clash and create conflict, particularly in the oldest and youngest group of employees. The problem lies in these different generations having different values and ideas as well as varying ways in which to execute tasks. However, there is a benefit to having a mixed group of workers collaborating with each other, and can create efficiency and effectiveness if everyone’s value is recognized and more importantly accepted.

Firstly, in a work environment, generational differences affect anything and everything. It presents issues with recruiting, team building, motivating team members and communication. These issues in turn can lead to conflict and a high employee turnover rate, which can then reflect poorly on a business. According to FDU Magazine Online, research indicates that people communicate based on their generational backgrounds. They state, “Each generation has distinct attitudes, behaviors, expectations, habits and motivational buttons.” They also divide the four different generations into a timeline. Veterans stem from 1922 – 1945, Baby Boomers from 1946-1964, Generation X from 1965 – 1980 and Generation Y comes from 1981-2000. These groups can be carefully distinguished through different characteristics. A clear understanding of the differences lies in work ethic and values. Veterans see work as a duty, where as on the other end of the generation line, Generation Y sees work from an entrepreneurial point of view as well as focusing on 'what’s next' after their current job, position or role. Another notable difference is older generations prefer hierarchy and process to get things done, whereas younger employees just want to get the task done and produce the outcome and the process in between...
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