Suppose you have been given a responsibility to hire employees for a fast food company, “Which age group/generation employee would you prefer to hire?”
Well, hold on your answer until you read the next paragraph to see if you are aligned.
A Research by McDonald’s in the UK has revealed that people working in a multi-generational environment tend to be 10% happier. McDonald’s research also found that 58% of workers felt it was a priority to have an opportunity to work with people of different ages. This was more important for those born between 1900 and 1964 (a priority for 67%), and 16-year-olds (a priority for 57%). It is always rewarding to have a diverse age group population working for your organization since they all bring value addition in a unique way.
Let’s discuss the different generation which you will come across while working within the organization. There are typically 4 types of work generation you usually interact at workplace including those who just passed out of college and joined or those who are in the 60s are semi-retired and then we have the generation who are straddling between the new world and old world.
Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964*)
Baby Boomers are the generation, who were born mostly following World War II. This generation believes in lifetime employment. In most cases, they are hard-working, obedient, conservative and loyal. They usually expect respect from the younger generation and prefer self-gratification. The primary motivation to work for many of this generation is to earn money to take care of dependents and themselves.
In an article published on World Economic Forum; Baby Boomers are the most affected generation by stereotyping. The research suggests none of them is true in most cases.
They can’t learn new thing
They are less productive
They take more time off sick
They will retire and leave the organisation
They are ‘overqualified’ (and this is bad)
Let’s not forget most of the technological revolution has been done by this generation such as Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Job (Apple), Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com), NR Narayana Murthy (Infosys), Azim Premji (Wipro) etc.
Generation X (1965 to 1983*)
Gen X is the generation following the baby boomers. They usually ask fewer questions(why?) as compared to Gen Y before doing any task. This generation prefers working with the set of rules without changing the style of work. They try to use the available resources to finish the assignment. The biggest motivator for them is to have a work-life balance and flexibility. This generation works as a bridge between two completely dissimilar generations i.e. Baby-boomer and Gen Y. Most of the employers prefer to have this generation within an organization considering they come with great skill expertise along with varied experiences in the era of changing technology.
Millennial, also known as “Gen Y” (1984 to 1996*)
This generation works with the purpose and with the clear understanding of how their work will have an impact on an organization. They use all possible solution to complete their work without limiting their work with current resources. They prefer working with the new tools and technology and stay longer with such organizations whoever provides such an infrastructure. They want their employer to discuss and define their career path on the regular interval. They embrace investment in the latest technology by the organization. They believe in practical experience and exposure rather than just learning. They believe in regular formal feedback and recognition even for smallest of achievements. This generation wants to part of work that is challenging and important for the organization.
Generation Z (Born after 1997*), also known as the iGeneration, Post-Millennials
Gen Z’s are highly educated, aware and most visible generation. Gen Z is well equipped with web-based research and takes the full responsibility to self-educate themselves with online/offline sources such as YouTube and e-learning platforms. They can learn complex things with minimum efforts and they take complete ownership to do it. They always want to work with companies which focuses more on new technologies and new ways of working. They have lived in the era of globalization hence they love to work with the company which is multinational, values diversity and inclusion; and highly tech-savvy.
*The age group given in this article may vary slightly on the different website.
Most of us have suffered this age discrimination, have not you? The fact is every generation has something unique to offer. The purpose of this article is to remove prejudice towards different generation and understand the importance of having a mixture of age group within the team. Employee Generation is certainly a Windfall for the organization if they are understood and valued properly.
My recommendation for HR / People Analytics team is to always consider the above factors when they do their analysis on employee data.
Look forward to your input/ Experience on the subject.