Why is it important to understand the different generations in your office? And how do you avoided not using those labels but accepting that the age difference can be a blessing not a curse.
Labeling generational groups helps identify and understand common characteristics, experiences, and trends within specific age ranges, aiding sociological and cultural analysis. It provides a framework to discuss and study shared values, behaviors, and influences that shape each generation’s worldview.
Employers can improve workplace culture by fostering open communication, providing opportunities for professional development, promoting work-life balance, recognizing and rewarding achievements, and ensuring a diverse and inclusive environment. Encouraging collaboration, offering flexible work arrangements, and addressing concerns promptly also contribute to a positive workplace culture.
Another interesting relationship with generational timelines is the technology preferred in communications. Say you are trying to reach out to a certain individual, choosing the right method could be critical in getting a response. Phone messages versus text messages. Social media preferences. This list can be long and conflicting. What you are trying to convey in your message is also important in which media you choose. But that is another topic to be addressed in a future EMinfo article.
American Generation Timeline
Generational names… do they fit? see NPR.org (https://www.npr.org/2014/10/06/349316543/don-t-label-me-origins-of-generational-names-and-why-we-use-them) note the date of publication 2014 -almost exactly 10 years ago as we print this! Time does fly and some new generations have been added but the basis are still in these groups listed below.
American Generations Timeline Though there is a consensus on the general time period for generations, there is not an agreement on the exact year that each generation begins and ends.
They were teenagers during the Great Depression and fought in World War II. Sometimes called the greatest generation (following a book by journalist Tom Brokaw) or the swing generation because of their jazz music.
They were too young to see action in World War II and too old to participate in the fun of the Summer of Love. This label describes their conformist tendencies and belief that following the rules was a sure ticket to success.
The boomers were born during an economic and baby boom following World War II. These hippie kids protested against the Vietnam War and participated in the civil rights movement, all with rock ‘n’ roll music blaring in the background.
They were originally called the baby busters because fertility rates fell after the boomers. As teenagers, they experienced the AIDs epidemic and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Sometimes called the MTV Generation, the “X” in their name refers to this generation’s desire not to be defined.
They experienced the rise of the Internet, Sept. 11 and the wars that followed. Sometimes called Generation Y. Because of their dependence on technology, they are said to be entitled and narcissistic.
These kids were the first born with the Internet and are suspected to be the most individualistic and technology-dependent generation. Sometimes referred to as the iGeneration.