Every entrepreneur, every HR professional, every boss will tell you it’s critical to understand the values, beliefs, hopes and aspirations of their employees. And while each of the 8 billion or so people on planet earth are their own individual person with their own inherent set of wants, needs and desires, when they were born and the cohort they grew up with does impact how they see the world.
Demographers like to talk about a generational gap and a culture clash between Baby Boomers (often defined as people born from 1946 to 1964) and Millennials (typically characterized as people born from 1981 to 1996) because in many countries they are the predominate demographics which now define politics, culture and economics. As Statista recently wrote, “Millennials recently surpassed Baby Boomers as the biggest group, and they will continue to be a major part of the population for many years.” This is focused on the United States but these trends ae relevant many places.
So understanding how Millennials differ from they Baby Boomer predecessors is hugely important for businesses, political leaders and everyone else as there is a seismic shift going on from one major generation to the next.
So Who Are The Boomers?
Baby Boomers grew up during the post-war as part of the largest population surge in history. They started their careers when the job market was very competitive and working long hours was seen as the key to success.
Baby Boomers in the workplace are often driven by different values than their younger counterparts. For many Boomers, salary and status are important factors in job satisfaction. They may also place a high importance on getting ahead and achieving success in their careers. While these values may seem selfish to some, they can actually be beneficial to the workplace as a whole. Baby Boomers often bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table, and their drive for success can help to motivate other employees. In addition, Baby Boomers according to statistics are often more loyal to their employers than younger workers, making them valuable members of the workforce.
Who Are The Millennials?
Millennials have been the subject of a lot of hand-wringing in recent years. Are they entitled? Narcissistic? Lazy? These are probably unfair characterizations, but one thing is for sure, millennials care about different things than previous generations when it comes to their work lives.
For millennials, fairness, a company’s environmental policy, flexible hours, and respect are all important factors in whether or not they feel satisfied with their jobs. With more and more millennials entering the workforce every day, companies would do well to take note of their values and adjust accordingly. After all, happy employees tend to be more productive employees. So if you want to get the most out of your millennial workers, make sure you’re providing a workplace that meets their needs.
There definitely has been a lot of media coverage on the differences between Millennials and Baby Boomers. In the workplace Boomers have tended to make their careers a priority while Millennial workers on the other hand, are more interested in finding a work-life balance and aren’t afraid to say no to projects that they don’t believe in. Baby Boomers may see this as laziness, but Millennials believe that they should enjoy their work and have time for other aspects of their life.
Here are some other ways that Millennials differ from Baby Boomers in the workplace:
– Baby Boomers are more likely to stay with one company for their entire career, while Millennials are more likely to job-hop.
– Baby Boomers tend to be hierarchical and respect authority, while Millennials are more egalitarian and question authority.
– Baby Boomers grew up with bosses telling them what to do, while Millennials want to be given autonomy.
– Baby Boomers value face-time and being in the office, while Millennials value results regardless of where they are working from.
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