Jul 18, 2017

Can boomers and Millennials work together?

There is a need to challenge those who would have us view current economic and social transformation through the lens of generational conflict, writes Per Capita research fellow Philip Taylor.

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The generations are at war, or so we are led to believe. According to research, so-called Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1995, believe they cannot move up career ladders because the baby boomers, those born between 1945 and 1964, are blocking the way. In response, some management academics and consultants point to the need for organisations to work out how they are going to manage multi-generational workforces, reducing any potential conflict and instead harnessing the power of this diversity for competitive advantage. Proponents of the value of segmenting the labour market — according to the generation of a given worker — have found a ready audience with considerable interest in how the attributes of the different generations might be leveraged to maximise business performance.

Observers have argued that there are differences in work values, communication styles and teamwork activities among employees from different generations. It has been suggested, for instance, that boomers live to work while Millennials work to live. Boomers are said to be loyal, while younger generations want immediate recognition as well as a life outside of work. They are less willing to hand over their lives to the company. Millennials, it is said, prefer to work in teams and believe in collective action. It is also suggested that different generations have different communication styles with baby boomers and generation X preferring to communicate in person or by telephone, whereas Millennials prefer using digital platforms.

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One thought on “Can boomers and Millennials work together?

  1. Dog's Breakfast

    The articles thrown around the Human Resources circles on how to manage a Millennial etc are such fabricated and substance-less rubbish. If HR was a genuine profession, the offending articles would be laughed at. Instead they are held up as ‘think-pieces’.

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