As an entrepreneur and part of the Boomer generation, the One Big Thing that drives me is fear of failure. I’d like to think that’s what drives any successful business person. But I’ve learned that’s not necessarily true for Generation X (30 to 40-something years old) and Generation Y (20s and 30s).
Today’s workplace is made up of people from different generations with different ideologies and concepts about workplace success. Sometimes we don’t realize the differences between Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y until faced with this core issue: in order for our business to survive, we need to hire younger employees to replace those preparing to retire. We must learn that we all can work together and benefit from the impact of other generations in the workplace. The Boomer generation can learn a lot about new technology from our younger counterparts and Generations X and Y coworkers can embrace the experience and commitment of the preceding generation.
In our competitive economy, it’s important for us to understand how others are motivated at work, so that we can work well together. Here’s a synopsis I’d like to share with you about generational differences/similarities. It’s from a company called Cesson (www.CESSON.com), and it provides information about the unique needs of generations in the workplace:
What Boomers Want — “Live to Work”
— Acknowledgement of their value; respect for their skills and knowledge
— Flexible goals and guidelines
— Accommodating scheduling, benefits and technology training
What Generation X Wants — “Work to Live”
— Freedom to complete tasks at own discretion while following guidelines
— Praise for jobs well done (an honest appraisal)
— Growth opportunities
— Reward with training and increased responsibility
— Fun at work and a healthy work/life balance
What Generation Y Wants — “Live, and Then Work”
— Access to technology, a teamwork environment, jobs that allow multi-tasking;
— Tasks that are challenging and rewarding
— Desire to be respected for their level of education
— Eager to learn and be consulted in decision-making
— Structure, supervision and immediate gratification and feedback
ONE LAST THING…
Perhaps we’re not so different after all. To maintain our competitive spirit, we all have to adapt to a youthful way of thinking and the new advances in technology, so that we may better understand our customer. We need to learn from and depend on one another’s differences — and similarities — to gain advantages that lead to our mutual success.