Generational Differences-Agree or Disagree?

  1. Someone sent this to me today so I wanted to post it and see if you agreed or not. Any truth to this stuff or is it psychobable/focus group/management school B.S.? Especially read with keeping differences in nursing education (different ages of students and instructors), patient advocacy (different ages of patients) and work environment (different ages of peer groups, "nurses eating their young") in mind.

    The four generations in today's workforce are described below. Each generation has been shaped by various factors, including social, political, and economic events, resulting in general behaviors and attitudes that characterize each group. Within each generation, however, there are wide differences in backgrounds, current circumstances, and personal needs.

    (aka Veterans, Seniors, Silent Generation)
    Great Depression; WWII; military leadership; FDR; radio; widespread travel by train, auto and airplane; mass production; manufacturing break- throughs (plastics, nylon)
    Strong moral obligations; hard working and loyal; economically conscientious; respectful of authority and rules; trusting of the government; dislike ambiguity; conforming; work before play.

    Baby Boomers
    (aka Boomers) 1946-1964
    Traditional families, TV, Vietnam, civil rights demonstrations, women's movement, economic expansion, landing on the moon, JFK/MLK/RFK assassinations
    Strong set of ideals and traditions; service oriented; optimistic; politically conservative; driven by a need to prove themselves (work ethic=worth). One third of all Americans and 53% of today's workforce fall into this category. Early Boomers defined the term "workaholic," but are now demanding more balance in their lives.

    Generation X
    (aka Xers, Baby Busters) 1965-1980
    Divorced parents; 2-income families; Challenger explosion; Watergate; Jim Bakker; economic instability (they started their careers in the wake of downsizings and restructurings)
    Highly independent; goal-oriented; entrepreneurial; driven by a need to invest in themselves; adapt readily to change; comfortable with information and technology; risk-takers; extremely self-reliant; skeptical.

    Generation Y
    (aka Net Gen, Millenials,
    Nexters, Generation Why)1980-2000
    PCs, cell phones, ATMs, pagers, the Internet, e-mail, AIDS, terrorist attacks, violence (everywhere), Clinton/Lewinsky, economic prosperity and affluence, environmental disregard
    Extremely literate in all forms of technology; proficient at multi-tasking; highly curious; relationship-driven; tolerant of differences; self-confident; contrarian; high expectations of the workplace; demand change.

    *Opinions vary on the exact years.

    What We Value in a Job

    Leadership with integrity; a consistent, orderly, and respectful environment; stability; low risk; directive management; managed conflict; an understanding of the "big picture" and long-term strategies.

    Baby Boomers
    A relationship with a company; an opportunity to prove ourselves and be a star; a warm, humane work environment; credit and respect for our accomplishments; the opportunity to solve problems and turn things around.

    Gen X
    Opportunity for individual accomplishment in a flexible, informal environment; building relationships with people who can help us grow; access to technology; authority based on credibility (we are unimpressed with and unintimidated by position authority); we are satisfied with lateral moves as long as we can learn new skills.

    Gen Y
    Meaningful role doing meaningful work that helps others; (we are very loyal to companies we believe in); clearly stated expectations; only rules that are clearly important; honest, straightforward communication; dynamic tasks, procedures, and environments; high-performing technology; to have fun while we work; to work on highly motivated teams of committed people.

    How We Function on a Team

    We expect strong team leaders who will set standards, enforce rules, minimize disruption to the team, and manage change.

    Baby Boomers
    Generally, we are good team players and are comfortable with a team-based work environment.

    Gen X
    Though not natural team players, we function best on teams that move quickly to produce concrete results, whose members are brought in for specific skills or knowledge and that provide recognition for our individual contributions to the team. We prefer teams with fluid facilitation, based on relevant skill or knowledge.

    Gen Y
    We are highly enthusiastic team players. We are tolerant of differences among team members and will work with anyone toward a common goal.

    How We Prefer to be Coached

    Be tactful and respectful. Coach in the context of corporate or department goals and long-term strategies.

    Baby Boomers
    Ask questions to get to the issues. Find opportunities for agreement. Assure them of their skills and show commitment to help them achieve more.

    Gen X
    Provide feedback on every result. Ensure feedback is timely and based on facts. Provide specific guidelines for improvement. Coach in the context of individual accomplishment and acquisition of skills.

    Gen Y
    Approach them as colleagues. Balance your role as a boss with that of a team player. Be respectful but personable.

    How To Motivate and Reward Us

    Use us to teach others. Tap into our experiences. We appreciate traditional rewards (e.g., plaques, photos with VIPs) and the personal touch (e.g., a handwritten note rather than an
    e-mail). Say things like, "We need you to tell us what worked in the past...and what didn't."

    Baby Boomers
    Hard work is often a reward in and of itself. We need to know we are meeting expectations and are being fairly compensated. Recognize our work ethic and long hours. Offer stress-reducing perks. Give us a chance to prove ourselves and our worth. Say things like, "We really value your talents here."

    Gen X
    Give us greater responsibility for results. Increase our freedom to create and innovate. Give us more control over our work schedules. Provide opportunities to learn new marketable skills/knowledge. Caution - we strongly resent inequity in reward systems. Say things like, "Do this the way you think it needs to be done."

    Gen Y
    Give us immediate and frequent feedback and rewards. Offer recognition in the presence of our peers - we love the spotlight. Pep talks and slogans won't work with us. Make the reward personal to show that you know something about us. Say things like, "You are helping us make a difference."
  2. Visit Figaro's Mom profile page

    About Figaro's Mom

    Joined: May '02; Posts: 77
    Start school (CHEMISTRY! WHOO-HOO!) in the fall


  3. by   Gator,SN
    Figaro's mom!
    I don't know how much of this is true, but it is interesting!
    I think that I may fit well in my category of Gen X. Not all the different examples but some of them!

    Thanks for the info!
  4. by   l.rae
    l found this facinating....yes..l'm a babyboomer right down to my toenails!!!LOL.........LR
  5. by   colleen10
    Hi Fagaro,

    This is really cool! Hope you don't mind but I am going to copy it and send it to a couple of my friends and family.

    I will say that as a Gen X'er the above really described me. Also, my grandparent's are Traditionals and they had and still have a lot of input into how I was raised and my values. I can say that the above also describes them pretty well too. Since they helped raise me I have some of the Traditional qualities too.