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Managing Four Generations in the Workplace. By: Melissa Hawkins, Brenda Mummert , and Colleen Nestruck. The 4 Generations . Objectives. Why does it matter? What is a ”Generation” The Four Generations Characteristics Workplace Characteristics Managing Workplace Generations Whats to come

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Managing Four Generations in the Workplace

By: Melissa Hawkins, Brenda Mummert, and Colleen Nestruck

  • Why does it matter?
  • What is a ”Generation”
  • The Four Generations
  • Characteristics
  • Workplace Characteristics
  • Managing Workplace Generations
  • Whats to come
  • Conclusion
  • Questions
  • References
managing multiple generations
Managing Multiple Generations

The Effect on the Workplace

He wants feedback, what the heck is that?

Get a life!

It’s 5:00, I’m

out of here!

They have no

work ethic

You’re right, but I’m the boss!

Just do your job!


I remember when…

The kid wants a promotion after six months on the job!

why does it matter
Why does it Matter?
  • 1st time in history 4 generations in workplace at same time
  • Different Work ethics
  • Different Values
  • = Conflict in the workplace
what is a generation
What is a “Generation”?

“group of contemporaries: all of the people who were born at approximately the same time, considered as a group, and especially when considered as having shared interests and attitudes”.

(English Dictionary, 2011 )


Veterans, Traditionalist, Silent, Matures (1922-1945)

  • Great Depression &WWII
  • Respect for authority
  • Conformers
  • Disciplined
  • Patriotic
  • Conservative
characteristics continued
Characteristics - (continued)

Veterans, Traditionalist, Silent

  • Nuclear Family
  • Education was a dream
  • Rotary Phones
  • Put cash away for later
  • Paid in cash
  • Delayed gratification
  • Duty, honor & country

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)

  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Vietnam War
  • Positive about the future
  • Involvement
  • Rebels
  • Hippies
  • Believed nothing was impossible
characteristics continued1
Characteristics - (continued)

Baby Boomers

  • Security Stability
  • Education was a birthright
  • Touch tone phones
  • Buy now, pay later

Generation X (1965-1980)

  • Skeptical
  • Asks the question “why”
  • Living Life
  • Relaxed and casual
  • Economic downturn of

the 80s/90s

  • Latch-key-kids
  • Raised in single Parent homes
characteristics continued2
Characteristics – (continued)

Generation X

  • Education-a way to get there
  • Cell Phones
  • Cautious with money
  • Save, save, save
  • Looks toward the future

Generation Y (1981-2000)

  • Practical understanding of life
  • Confident
  • Likes to have fun
  • Social
  • Merged families
  • September 11th
characteristics continued3
Characteristics – (continued)

Generation Y “Millennial”

  • Education is expensive
  • Internet
  • Picture Phones
  • E-mail
  • Earn money to spend money
workplace characteristics
Workplace Characteristics


  • Hard working
  • “Just git’er done”
  • Punctual & never miss work
  • Respect Authority
  • Obey Rules
  • Work before fun
workplace characteristics1
Workplace Characteristics

Baby Boomers

  • Workaholics
  • “Work-til-you-drop”
  • Personal fulfillment
  • Desire quality
  • Sacrifice personal life to achieve professional goals
  • Work for 1 employer all their lives
work characteristics
Work Characteristics

Generation X

  • Eliminate tasks
  • Self-reliant
  • Want structure and direction
  • Skeptical
  • Opt for quality of life instead of careers
  • Want to know “why”
  • See work as a challenge/contract
work characteristics1
Work Characteristics

Generation Y

  • What’s next
  • Multitasking
  • Sticks firm to a decision
  • Goal oriented
  • Tolerant
  • See work as a means to an end
managing multiple generations1
Managing Multiple Generations

The Effect on the Workplace

  • Recruiting
  • Building Teams
  • Dealing with Change
  • Motivating
  • Managing
  • Maintaining and Increasing Productivity
  • Communication
managing multiple generations2
Managing Multiple Generations

Interactive Style

  • Veterans—Individual, one on one, formal memo
  • Baby Boomers—Loves meetings, in-person
  • Generation X—Initiates communication, Electronic communication
  • Generation Y—Participative, Techno device- texting
managing multiple generations3
Managing Multiple Generations

Communication Style

  • Veterans—Formal or memo’s
  • Baby Boomers—In person
  • Generation X—Direct or immediate
  • Generation Y—E-mail, Social media, voice mail, and instant message
managing multiple generations generational values
Managing Multiple Generations Generational Values
  • Veterans
    • Respect for authority
    • Integrity
    • Delayed gratification
    • Duty & honor & country
  • Baby Boomers
    • Security & stability
    • Optimism
    • Hardworking
    • Team player
managing multiple generations generational values continued
Managing Multiple Generations Generational Values (continued)
  • Generation X
    • Family
    • Living life
  • Generation Y
    • Connectivity
    • Respect diversity
    • Want to make a difference
managing multiple generations4
Managing Multiple Generations

Feedback and Rewards

  • Veterans
    • No news is good news
    • Satisfaction is a job well done
  • Baby Boomers
    • Don’t appreciate it
    • Wants money and Title Recognition
managing multiple generations5
Managing Multiple Generations

Feedback and Rewards (continued)

  • Generation X
    • Constantly wants to know “how am I doing”?
    • Freedom is the best reward
  • Generation Y
    • Gives feedback how ever they want
    • Wants feedback at the push of a button
    • Rewards come with meaningful work
managing multiple generations6
Managing Multiple Generations

Messages that Motivate

  • Veterans—need to hear that their experiences are respected!
  • Baby Boomers—need to hear you are valued and needed!
  • Generation X—wants to hear “do it your way”, “forget the rules”!
  • Generation Y—needs to hear that they are bright and will work with others like them!
how do you make everyone get along
How do you make Everyone Get Along?
  • Create function & project oriented assignments
  • Watch your communication
  • Listen
  • Look beyond appearances
  • Keep an open mind
  • Deal with changing work/life expectations
  • Consider individual needs
  • Emphasize commonalities & strengths and use those as resources
  • Honor each person’s contributions
what s to come
What’s to come

5-Generations in the workplace

  • Know as Generation 9/11
  • Grown up with war
  • See things through a lens due to
  • 9/11
  • View the world with less optimism
  • Not going to change because new generation will be entering work force
  • People are living longer and working longer
  • To be successful businesses need to recognize the strengths of each generation and use those to their advantages

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Brown, D. (2003). Understanding four generations in the workplace. Fort Worth Business Press, 16(25), 11. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

CPA Trendlines. (2010). Four Generations in the Workplace: Who Are They? What Do They Want? Retrieved from:

De Meuse, K. P., & Mlodzik, K. J. (2010). A Second Look at Generational Differences in the Workforce: Implications for HR and Talent Management. People & Strategy, 33(2), 50-58. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Generations: Moving Through Time. (Cover story). (2011). Clinician Reviews, 21(1), 1-26. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Hall, J. R. (2007). Understanding Employees Is a Generational Thing. Air Conditioning Heating & Refrigeration News, 230(10), 22. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Hammill, G. (2005) Mixing and managing four generations of employees. FDU Magazine Online. Retrieved from

Hastings, R. R. (2008). Silent Generation Speaks Up About Work. HRMagazine, 53(9), 30. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Herbison, G., & Boseman, G. (2009). Here They Come-Generation Y. Are You Ready?. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 63(3), 33-34. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

references continued
References continued

Kyles, D. (2005). Managing Your Multigenerational Workforce. Strategic Finance, 87(6), 52-55. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Lesonsky, R. ( 2011, Februray 9). How to manage employees from every generation. Business Insider. Retrieved from

Marshall, J. (2004). Managing Different Generations At Work. Financial Executive, 20(5), 18. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Murphy Jr., E. F., Gibson, J., & Greenwood, R. A. (2010). Analyzing Generational Values Among Managers and Non-Managers for Sustainable Organizational Effectiveness. SAM Advanced Management Journal (07497075), 75(1), 33-55. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Pekala, N. (2001). Conquering the GENERATIONAL DIVIDE. Journal of Property Management, 66(6), 30. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Reinhardt, E. (2010). The challenge of managing a multigenerational work place. (cover story). Business Journal (Central New York), 24(21), 1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Timmermann, S. (2007). What a Difference a Generation Makes: How Our Life Experiences Shape Our Viewpoints and Behaviors. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 61(3), 25-28. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Townsend, J. (2011). Managing Generation Gaps in the Workplace. Baseline, (109), 14. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

White, R. (2006). FOUR GENERATIONS LEARNING TO WORK BETTER TOGETHER. Public Management (00333611), 88(10), 35. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.