There have always been large variances in age in the workplace but the workplace of 2011 contains the most versatile workforce to date. How does the generation gap affect today’s workplace? The generation gap is more of an issue in today’s workplace for many reasons with some of the main causes being major advancements in technology as well as changes in the way today’s employees view work and home life, compared to employees from earlier generations.
There are four groups of generations in today’s workplace: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials. Each group is unique and a valued part of the organization they belong to however, each group prefers to work in different ways and expects different things out of their career. Whereas Traditionalists are concerned with moving up the corporate ladder, Millenials are concerned with higher education and skills they learn that can be taken with them on their next career move. Generation Xers and Millennials also dress differently than the older generations as well as view work/home balance more importantly than prior generations.
Generation Xers and Millennials prefer to use modern technology as their method of communication due to the fact they were raised with these devices in their daily life. Traditionalists, on the other hand, prefer to communicate in person. They are not as skilled with modern day computer systems therefore it takes them much longer to complete the same tasks. Today’s workplace is also monitored in a more relaxed manner than the workplace of Traditionalists or Baby Boomers. Due to advancements in technology, employees now have the opportunity to telework and enter their hours worked on websites instead of punching time clocks and being physically there for 8 hours each day.
In conclusion, there will always be generation gaps in the workplace. The key is to determine the best way for each member of an organization to work effectively and for each to be satisfied with what they see as most important. Throughout history there have always been generation gaps in the workplace. Due to advancements in technology and changes in the way we think, it is now becoming an issue however. Over the past twenty years, employees have gone from learning to use a computer to not being able to live without one. We now email, text, or instant message more than we talk to one another on the phone. These differences as well as many others impact today’s workplace dramatically. The older generations such as the Traditionalists and Baby Boomers prefer to communicate via phone, memos, or face to face. This style of work is much different than that of the Generation Xers and the Millennials. In order to understand the ways in which each generation in the workplace differs, we must first look at what makes up each generation. Traditionalists are hard workers who “grew up during the Great Depression and were largely influenced by the terrible economic climate of the time. As a result, they view work as an unwavering commitment and appreciate the opportunity to earn a paycheck” (Beekman, 2011, p.15). They tend to put work first in order to provide for their family which in turn leads to less quality time spent with their loved ones. Beekman (2011) states “baby boomers make up the largest percentage of today’s workforce and unlike Traditionalists, Boomers grew up during healthy economic times and have a more optimistic outlook on life and work” (p.15). This generation tends to work hard with high expectations and expects the younger generations to establish this mindset as well. Generation X employees, in order to feel fulfilled in life, require a good balance between work and home life. They expect to enjoy their job and create true friendships with their coworkers. Unlike Traditionalists and Baby Boomers, Generation Xers are not concerned with loyalty to their employer. They are concerned with what will make them better and balance...