A lot of attention is being focused these days on Millennials, the generation that came of age in the 21st century and are still fairly new to the workforce. Researchers have been studying their characteristics and many articles have been written to help supervisors understand their young employees. However, this generation is only one component of the workforce. A large portion of workers are Generation X, at the peak of their working life, while a full one-third of workers are Baby Boomers, many of whom delay retirement beyond age 65. Researchers have noted that each group has unique characteristics.
Starting at the bottom, Millennials belong to a generation of kids who are not guaranteed a better lifestyle than their parents. Many Millennials leave college with a diploma and a mountain of student loan debt. Even with a job, loan payments drain away their income, and many move back in with their parents to save money. Because they need money, they are hard workers on the job, but they are quick to leave if a better opportunity comes along. Companies who want to retain their Millenial employees need to pay them well, give them generous vacation leave, and provide opportunities for advancement.
Born between 1965 and 1980, Generation Xers are currently in mid-life. Though labeled “slackers” in their youth, grown-up Gen Xers make up a large part of the work force and are likely to hold positions of responsibility. More than other generations, this group is known to value work-life balance, and they are happiest at work when they feel that their work is meaningful. In other words, these workers want to have an impact on their organization, and this is a greater motivation for many of them than a paycheck. Employers who want to retain these workers need to give them autonomy. Micro-managing Gen X employees robs them of their sense of agency.
The oldest generation in the workforce is the Baby Boom generation, born after the soldiers came home from World War II. As the most experienced employees, Boomers have a lot to offer in terms of training and nurturing the next generation, and they are likely to still be highly productive workers in positions of authority. In order to retain these highly qualified employees, companies need to be aware of their need for flexibility. To learn more about making a workplace senior friendly, check out this WordPress Site.