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Generational Diversity Melanie Holmes, Vice President of Corporate Affairs mix match A Generation Defined by age boundaries Share similar experiences growing up Share similar values and attitudes The Generations GI: 1901 – 1931 Traditionalists: 1932 – 1945 Baby Boomers: 1946 – 1964

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Generational Diversity

Melanie Holmes, Vice President of Corporate Affairs



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Generational Diversity

A Generation

  • Defined by age boundaries

  • Share similar experiences growing up

  • Share similar values and attitudes

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Generational Diversity

The Generations

  • GI: 1901 – 1931

  • Traditionalists: 1932 – 1945

  • Baby Boomers: 1946 – 1964

  • Generation X: 1965 – 1980

  • Generation Y or Millennials: 1981 – 1994

  • Digital: 1995 to the present

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For the first time in history four

generations are working together!

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Generational Diversity

Traditionalists (born before 1946)

  • Respect authority

  • Place duty before pleasure

  • Believe patience is its own reward: delayed gratification

  • Value honor and integrity

  • Avoid challenging the system

  • Maintain dedication to a job once they take it

  • Believe in law and order

  • Team player

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Pearl Harbor

World War II

The Great Depression


The atomic bomb

Homemaker mother

The radio

Social Security System established


Flash Gordon

Joe DiMaggio

Puritan ethics

Big Bands

Blondie and Dagwood

Generational Diversity


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Generational Diversity

Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964)

  • Live to work

  • Maintain a general sense of optimism

  • Because of their numbers enjoy unprecedented influence

  • Willing to go into debt – betting on the future

  • Strive for convenience and personal gratification

  • Preserve their youth and are nostalgic about it

  • Great majority will work after traditional retirement

  • Looking for self-fulfillment

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Kent State

Civil Rights


The Pill


Television (3 channels!)

“Duck and Cover”

John Lennon


Brown v Board of Education

Kennedy assassination

Working mother

Rock ‘n’ Roll

Romper Room

Generational Diversity

Baby Boomers

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Generational Diversity

Generation X (1965 – 1980)

  • Work to live; not live to work

  • View jobs within context of a contract

  • Believe in clear, consistent expectations

  • Require opportunities to grow

  • Want versatility

  • Money is only part of the equation

  • Contribution to the whole is important

  • Skeptical and cynical

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Fall of the Berlin Wall


Video games

Energy crisis


Test tube babies

The Brady Bunch

Roe v Wade

Single mother



Personal computers

Star Trek

Three Mile Island meltdown

Generational Diversity

Generation X

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Generational Diversity

Generation Y (1981 – 1994)

  • Live in the moment

  • Rely on the immediacy of technology

  • Demand clear and consistent expectations

  • Earning money translates into immediate consumption

  • Will respect only after they are treated with respect

  • Question everything

  • Be more diverse

  • Family-oriented

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Virtual reality

Oklahoma City bombing

Computer viruses


Designer drugs

Bill Gates

Single mother / single father

Princess Diana


Cell phones

Britney Spears

The Simpsons


Generational Diversity

Gen Y

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the combined result is greater than the sum of the parts.

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Generational Diversity

Potential Issues

  • Different values drive different behavior

  • There is the potential for conflicts

  • Communication styles are very different

  • The generations may clash over priorities

  • We all may succumb to stereotypes

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Generational Diversity

That May Increase

  • Tangible costs

    • Turnover

    • Productivity

  • Intangible costs

    • Morale

  • Grievances and complaints

  • Perceptions of inequity

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Generational Diversity

Importance of Valuing Differences

  • Information flows in all directions

  • Successful leaders let everyone be heard and know no one has all the answers

  • Appreciation of diversity encourages each group to contribute to positively impact the success of the organization

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Generational Diversity

Benefits of the Multi-Generational Team

  • The team can attract and retain talented people of all ages

  • The team is more flexible

  • The team can gain and keep greater market share because its members reflect a multi-generational market

  • Decisions are stronger because they are broad-based

  • The team is more innovative

  • The team can meet the needs of a diverse public


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Generational Diversity

Contributions of the Generations

  • Traditionalists provide stability and experience

  • Boomers are loyal

  • Gen Xers contribute “out-of-the-box” thinking

  • Gen Yers provide innovation and excitement while staying committed to the organization

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Generational Diversity

Thank You!

Melanie Cosgrove Holmes

Vice President, Corporate Affairs – North America


5301 North Ironwood Road

Milwaukee, WI 53217

Voice: 414.906.6383

Fax: 414.906.7798

Mobile: 414.573.5000