Generational Diversity in the Workplace

October 30th, 2012

Generational Diversity in the Workplace


Over the next few weeks, we at Bear are going to try to dive deeply into a topic that we have personally seen ignite verbal fireworks – on both sides. As we present this, we will try and help you cope with a dynamic in the workplace that most of us are having to deal with. Perhaps it is nothing more than the “generation gap” of the ’70’s revisited. Is it the same? Is it simply history repeating itself -or is it different this time?

We have developed interest in this topic, partially out of necessity in operating a business faced with the challenges Generational Diversity presents, and partly by observation of the sparks it creates between Traditionalists (those born prior to 1946), Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (those born between 1964 and 1980), and Gen Y or Millennials (those born after 1980).

Perhaps as a manager or business owner, you have heard or experienced that this Millennial or Gen Y, or Generation Next, segment of the workforce has an attitude of entitlement, poor work ethic, or lack of loyalty, but on the flip side, maybe you have seen their ability to multi-task, master and use technology and overall, get more done in less time (we have personally observed both). As a member of Gen X, or Gen Y, perhaps you have felt “boxed in”, “unappreciated” or even confused by Baby Boomer or Traditionalist managers. Maybe you have become discouraged or disillusioned by someone who places more emphasis on structure than on the overall quality and quantity of work. Or maybe you never even knew any of this existed before and we are just giving you one more thing to think about. If so, we hope you won’t hate us – too much.

Whatever category you fall into we are interested in hearing your experiences, comments and suggestions. We do not claim to be experts on this topic, but we will be bringing quotes, comments and articles together in a venue that we hope will help us all work together.

With this series, we hope to provide our clients and prospects a venue to learn about this topic through awareness of articles and new material as it becomes available. We also hope to provide a venue and tool for people to express their views, ideas and experiences from both sides, so that together we can make our work life easier and more enjoyable. In the coming weeks, we will attempt to bring you material that will be thought provoking and useful, and we hope that you will share your experiences & opinions.

Whether you are on the side of it being “history repeating”, or that this is a new challenge not like others we have faced in the past, one thing is certain, it is an issue that businesses can choose to deal with and manage, or ignore and hope it goes away. While we would prefer the latter, (it would just be plain easier), we are convinced that it is the former, and therefore an issue that will affect most of us. Whether you are a client, vendor, or just a “friend of the firm”, we hope you will join us on our journey to better understand and manage the different viewpoints of each generation and for us to all profit from each others experiences.