Understanding Five Generations in the Workplace

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There are five generations of workers currently dominating the workplace, each with their own unique characteristics and ideas that impact their workplace expectations. As a manager, it is your job to understand and meet these expectations whenever possible to keep a loyal and engaged team. But this can feel complicated when there are so many generations to understand all at once. The five main generations in today’s workplace are Baby Boomers, Gen X, Xennials, Millennials, and Gen Z.

Five Generations in the Workplace

How to Manage Five Generations in the Workplace

Understanding Baby Boomers

In most workplaces, Baby Boomers are the oldest workers. Born between 1946 and 1964, this enormous generation dominated the workforce for decades. While more Boomers are retiring every year, they still represent a noticeable portion of the workforce. It is estimated that Boomers make up about 6% of the workforce today. Boomers were not exposed to modern technology until well into their adult years, impacting their relationship to technology in the workplace. About 31% of Baby Boomers have a Bachelor’s degree or higher with more men than women accounting for these degrees.

What many Boomers care about in the workplace:

  • Baby Boomers pride themselves on working long hours and expect younger generations to follow-suit.
  • Boomers tend to define themselves by their professional accomplishments so they are driven by titles and recognition in the workplace.

Understanding Gen X

Generation X is the next oldest generation after the Baby Boomers. This generation was born between 1965 and 1976 and entered the workforce at a time when Baby Boomers held all the top jobs. Although they are a smaller generation than the Baby Boomers and Millennials, they should not be forgotten in the workplace. In 2018, the Global Leadership Forecast reported that Gen X held 51% of leadership roles around the world. There were approximately 53 million Gen Xers in the workforce in 2017 and they are estimated to make up about 35% of the workforce today. Older Gen Xers were not exposed to modern technology until their careers had already been established while those on the younger end were exposed in their post-college life. Thirty-five percent of Gen Xers have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

What many Gen X cares about in the workplace:

  • Gen X wants to be included in decision making processes so they can flex their excellent problem solving skills.
  • Gen X tends to be cynical. They thrive in environments where managers take the time to get to know their employees so trust can be built.

Understanding Xennials

Xennials are a micro-generation born between 1977 and 1984. The attributes and skills common among the Xennial generation make them an important part of today’s workforce. This was the last generation to be raised without modern technology, with exposure coming during their early college years.

What many Xennials care about in the workplace:

  • Xennials thrive in environments that embrace change.
  • Work is tightly integrated into the Xennial identity so don’t be afraid to depend on your Xennial employees.
  • Xennials have more optimism than Gen X and can act as a bridge between Boomers and Millennials.

Understanding Millennials

Also called Gen Y, Millennials were born between 1985 and 1996. When you consider that over half of all adults are Millennials or younger, it makes sense that this group would make up the largest percentage of the workforce. In 2017, there are about 56 million Millennials in the workforce. This was the first generation to be exposed to modern technology during their childhoods – though it was in their teens – and to come of age during the new millennium. This is a highly educated generation, with 39% percent holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. Millennials are the most highly educated generation, yet they are struggling the most financially.

What many Millennials care about in the workplace:

  • Millennials care most about finding a work environment that gives them a sense of purpose and aligns with their values.
  • They want flexibility, equity, and transparency built into the company culture.
  • Millennials are now pursuing promotions and jobs with higher compensation.

Understanding Generation Z

Generation Z comes right after Millennials and represents people born between 1997 and 2011. Gen Zers are currently the smallest portion of the workforce, making up about 5% and 9 million workers, but their share is growing every year as the Boomers retire. Generation Z was introduced to modern technology in their early childhood, dramatically affecting the way that they interact with the world. Generation Z students are on track to become the most educated generation in history, with 57% of 18 to 21-year olds enrolled in college in 2018. Gen Z is also the most ethnically diverse population.

What many Gen Z cares about in the workplace:

  • Work-life balance and personal well-being are very important to Gen Z so they value paid time off, the ability to take a mental health day, and a healthy work culture that encourages a sense of community.
  • Income and brand reputation are not as important to Gen Z as they are to Millennials.
  • Gen Z will quit if they don’t feel the job is meeting their expectations.

Partnering with Makai HR 

Your workers are your most important asset. When you partner with Makai HR you can get on with the business you are trying to grow while we take care of your employee needs from payroll to taxes, health insurance/benefits and worker’s compensation. You also gain peace of mind that you are compliant with all of Hawaii’s employer laws (if you’ve ever looked you know that the list is very long and changes happen). When choosing a PEO to partner with, there are many things to consider including cost, services, and technology solutions.  

With the cost of doing business in Hawaii at record highs, we know how important it is to keep labor costs in line with revenue. Our plans are priced competitively and include value-added services like time-in/time-out systems. Our three tiers of PEO service plans are tailored to the size of your business and specific needs. We offer a 100% paperless solution which means that your employees can manage their needs through a computer, tablet, or phone. We can truly improve your employees’ work benefits while freeing you up to run your business. 

What are you waiting for? Companies that partner with a PEO benefit from 7-9% faster growth, 10-14% lower employee turnover; and they are 50% less likely to go out of business. Contact us today to get started! 

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