Submitted by: Sharon H. Katz, Ph.D, Performance/Wellness Training and Coaching, Main Line Psychological Resources, LLC

One of the most exciting aspects of our workforce today is its diversity.  Diversity has become a core value, a business platform for success.

As a manager, you are charged with motivating employees who vary with respect to education, experience, cultural background, learning style, personality and talent. One of the most outstanding differences among your employees is GENERATIONAL. Each generation has shared a particular socio-economic-political history. This results in a set of values, expectations, and behaviors common to this group. The multi-generational workplace, when handled well, creates a vibrant, innovative setting and can significantly improve the bottom line.

Here are 8 tips to help you capitalize on generational differences:

1.  Identify the four major generations. The Traditionalists, born before 1945, are now in their late 60’s or older. The Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are now in their mid 40’s to mid 60’s.  The Gen X ers, born between 1965 and 1980, are now in their 30’s and early 40’s.  The Gen Y ers, also known as the Millennials, were born between 1981 and 1997; most but not all are in their 20’s.

2.  Understand the differences. Recognize the value that each generation brings to your organization.

Traditionalists (late 60’s or older) are familiar with the consequences of the Great Depression where there was deprivation and uncertainty.  They have lived through many difficult changes that were not under their control.  They are used to an authoritarian model of leadership.  Understandably, they have historically valued loyalty, security and stability.  Change may be a little more challenging.  Because they were raised in a business environment that may have operated at a slower pace compared to today’s standards, they are better able to delay gratification and be patient.  They offer wonderful perspective and the wisdom associated with maturity, life and business experience.

The Baby Boomers (mid 40’s to mid 60’s) may prefer a more structured, compartmentalized approach to work.  There is a high achievement need, in fact, some may be “workaholics”.  Work has served as the significant vehicle for personal fulfillment.  They want to be valued for their accomplishments and status.  They have worked hard to climb the corporate ladder.  They will benefit from keeping up-to-date regarding technological advancements, diversity and globalization.

Gen X