The Workplace Generation Game
For several years now, I have increased my understanding of mutigenerational diversity though the conversations that were happening in coaching and training sessions. This curiosity led The Resiliency Hub to create a survey on the Generational Workplace. Some of the results and findings are included here. The workplace is a melting pot of different generations, each with its unique perspectives, values, motivators, and experiences. The interplay of these generations has given rise to what can be described as "The Workplace Generation Game." To navigate this game successfully, it's essential to understand the key players. The dates and traits of these generations are not an exact science and can be viewed as a guide only.
Who are the five generations?
The current workplace comprises five distinct generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z, and even some members of the emerging Generation Alpha. Each generation brings its own set of qualities and contributions to the table.
Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are often associated with a strong work ethic and dedication to their careers. They have witnessed significant historical events and technological advancements. Baby Boomers value loyalty, stability, and face-to-face communication.
Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, is known for its adaptability and resourcefulness. Growing up during times of economic changes, they prioritise work-life balance and appreciate autonomy in their roles. Generation X values clear communication and seeks meaningful connections.
67% of the Baby Boomers and Gen X respondents to The Resiliency Hub Survey noted that their workstyle and leadership style preferences had changed as they grew older.
Respondents had more time for team building and teamwork. They were more inclusive and open minded. One response noted that “they had mellowed over time resulting in more patience and understanding”. This level of increasing self-awareness is what allows leaders at any level to embrace the diversity that is to stay.
“Gen X respondent - I have learnt more about people, what motivates them, what demotivates them and the impact of what's important to them on how they perform etc.”
Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are digital natives who value innovation and purpose-driven work. They seek opportunities for growth and development, often prioritising a collaborative and inclusive work environment. Flexibility, feedback, and a sense of purpose are important to this generation.
Generation Z, born from the mid-1990s to early 2010s, is characterised by its tech-savviness and entrepreneurial spirit. This generation values authenticity, diversity, and instant communication. Gen Z seeks a balance between structured guidance and the freedom to explore.
In the survey, Gen Z noted that they bring increased creativity and innovation to a team as well as broader perspectives on problem-solving, improved decision-making, enhanced learning, and knowledge sharing. This cannot be ignored as we bring multigenerational teams together.
Generation Z values rapid advancement and thrives in an innovative environment. They may also require more guidance in professional settings.
Understanding that one size does not fit all when it comes to Multigenerational Leadership Styles
To lead a multigenerational team effectively, a leadership style that combines flexibility, empathy, and clear communication is crucial. The findings in the survey concluded that Coaching and Democratic Leadership Styles were the preferred leaderships styles amongst many of the generations, particularly the younger generations. The Coaching style sees leaders who focus on personal development and mentorship. The democratic style is leaders who involve the team in decision-making and value their input.
“Rather than fixating on the differences themselves, we need to focus on the underlying motivations that encourage open dialogue and recognise the strengths of each generation; the result - empathy and mutual respect among generations.”
Wellness and work-life balance in a top priority for the Multigenerational Team
97% of our Survey respondents said that Work-life balance remains a high priority
Wellness is a universal desire across generations. The definition of “balance” may differ based on generational values; Baby Boomers might view it as stability and longevity in a job, Millennials and Gen Z might emphasise the ability to integrate work with personal passions. The one common theme that we see in coaching and training sessions is the lack of time available to employees – the constant “Busy” has lost the run of itself and is now one of the most overused words in the English language. Busy is a feeling, an excuse, boredom, sadness, lethargy, over-whelmed, uncertainty, confusion, a misunderstanding, a lack of communication and often an avoidance technique.
The Busy Mind ReProgramme is a coaching programme that we run which is designed for employees who are looking to change their approach to being busy. The Programme focuses on productivity and explores ways we can become more productive and less busy. Participants become the master of their time and explore time-consuming activities that they need to let go of; bringing more balance into their work-life.
Remote work is here to stay
97% of the survey respondents favour Remote and Hybrid working arrangements; with Hybrid arrangements totalling a huge majority of 79.4%.
This rise in remote work has added a new layer to generational dynamics. While younger generations might embrace the flexibility and digital connectivity it offers, older generations tend to prefer traditional in-person interactions. Bridging this gap requires finding common ground and using technology to enhance communication and collaboration; which is one of the key differentiators when looking at staff retention.
Embracing feedback in day-to-day operations
Feedback is an essential component of professional growth. Regardless of generation, everyone benefits from constructive feedback. Organisations can create a culture that encourages regular feedback sessions, allowing team members to learn from one another's experiences and perspectives. According to the Survey results - the younger generations value Real-time feedback!
Are you being listened to? - Communicating across generations
Effective communication is key to understanding and valuing each generation's contributions. Tailoring communication styles to suit each generation's preferences fosters understanding and cooperation. The formal letter is rarely a form of everyday communication. The younger generations are focussed on fast communication using hand-held devices. Ask your team what works best for the team.
It is important to communicate not just the "what" but also the “why” behind decisions and strategies.
Uniting in the in the diversity of generations
This article only touches on the key themes that arise in multigenerational workplaces. In a rapidly changing world, a harmonious multigenerational workplace is not just an ideal; it is a necessity. Embracing generational diversity, leveraging unique strengths, and nurturing open communication pave the way for a successful and thriving workplace.
Leadership Coach and Facilitator
The Resiliency Hub
Upcoming Ibec Webinars
This Autumn, our Networks seminar series focuses on how business can optimise the multigenerational workforce. During our five-webinar series we will provide you with skills and tools to understand and optimise different generations of your workforce. We will examine habits and behaviours of each generation, discuss generational motivations; upskilling; recruitment challenges and targeted wellness.
The Workplace Generation Game
Monday 18 September 11.00 – 11.40am
In the first of our virtual series, we lay the foundations. Eibhlin Johnston from the Resiliency Hub will outline each of the generations within the workplace, their habits, likes, dislikes and characteristics and discuss the benefits and power of a generationally diverse workforce.
For full details on all webinars in the series, please visit our webpage here.