A new book has an interesting take on how four generations coexist in the workplace – “Traditionalists who voted for Eisenhower, Boomers who worked out to Jane Fonda, Xers who listened to Nirvana, and Millennials who can do all of that and more digitally.”
The following is an excerpt from Ties to Tattoos, by Sherri Elliott, that I thought you would find thought provoking...
As unwelcoming as managing four separate and unique generations may seem, the future looks even more bleak. Over the next dozen years, all but the most die-hard Traditionalists will have left the workforce and take with them their strong sense of loyalty and sacrifice. Now come the Boomers, 76 million of them, planning their retirements and taking with them a vast reservoir of company knowledge and expertise. How then do you hold this vast knowledge base and share it with the upcoming generations? Or, in practical terms, how do you organize, create, capture, and distribute company knowledge to future users. How do you ensure that conceptual skills, socialization, and other non-explicit types of knowledge gleaned from your company by Boomers over the past twenty years is transmitted, in a way that makes sense, to younger Xers and Millennials?
Knowledge transfer is only half the problem. The other half is creating new communication tools that speak to an entirely new workplace demographic. E-mail, for example, may have been a godsend for Boomers, but to Xers and Millennials, e-mail is the dinosaur of an ever-growing set of revolutionary technology communication tools.
As the last of the Boomers reach retirement by 2020, the new workforce will be comprised of two entirely new and different demographics—Xers and Millennials.
So, is your company ready for the change?