Is your team an amazing mix of generations? For the first time in history there are four generations present in the workplace. With the demise of mandatory retirement in most private sector jobs, some workers are choosing to remain on the job well into their seventies and eighties. These members of the "Traditionalist" generation, born between 1922 and 1945 tend to have a much different worldview than "Gen-Y" workers born between 1979 and 1994. Add in the "Baby Boomer" generation who entered the world between 1946 and 1964, and the "Gen-X" people born between 1965 and 1978, and you find an interesting mix of values, perspectives, and communication styles in today's organization.
Traditionalists were taught to value privacy, and to keep their trials and tribulations to themselves. Dependable to a fault, Traditionalists pride themselves on giving an honest day's work for an honest day's pay.
Because of their sheer volume, Baby Boomers have reshaped the workplace environment. The concept of "workaholics" was coined by this generation who believe that the more hours you spend at work, the more valuable you are to the workplace. These competitive folks are driven to climb the ladder of success, and tend not to recognize when their careers have peaked, but push on in an attempt to reach ever-higher levels of accomplishment.
Gen-Xers do not usually wish to participate in office politics. They are independent, entrepreneurial thinkers who fluidly adapt to rapidly changing environments. Gen-Xers have now become the "Gen-Nexters" as they are moving into leadership positions being vacated by retiring Baby Boomers.
Gen-Y individuals are so inquisitive that their moniker is often expressed as "Gen-whY". This group has been referred to as "youth who continually question the standards and expectations imposed by society". They define the workplace as they go along, and feel entitled to everything, much like their grandparents, the Boomers.
The richness provided by differing generational perspectives in the multigenerational team will spur the team to new heights of productivity if properly managed and leveraged.