In many ways, baby boomers and millennials could not be more different. Confronting the two generations’ differences in the workplace is a circumstance that offers some challenges along with great promise. If you can harness all the energy that these challenges create, and consider the benefit of millennials’ differences, your workplace will be dynamic and productive.
Social scientists define each separate generation by the attitudes, behaviors and expectations of the people born within a particular timeframe. The baby boomer generation (1946-1964) has been perhaps the most influential in shaping modern society and workplaces, because it pushed aside the tired social notions of the pre-war era in pursuit of innovation and imagination. The boomers invented scores of new industries and created immense wealth. In many respects, the baby boomers set the tone and style of the work world for generations to come.
For many millennials, those born between 1982 and 2004, the boomer mentality no longer seems relevant. Millennials are resisting social notions that they consider outdated in favor of progressive and innovative approaches, just as the baby boomers did when they were entering the workforce. Millennials were raised with an electronic console in each hand, coached and supported at every step of their development, and encouraged to express the full extent of their emotions. This upbringing has created noticeable traits that are often criticized by members of older generations.
For corporate administrations steeped in baby boomer traditions, the vast differences in mindset and attitude between the boomers and the millennials make the increasing number of millennials joining the workforce a particularly difficult situation to manage.