Generations in the Workplace: Baby Boomers and TraditionalistsPart 3 of 3
Boomers at Work
Known for their diligent work ethic, Baby Boomers are known as the Live to Work generation. These folks are well-versed in their careers and look to stay in the workplace well after age 65
Born between 1946 and 1964, this generation grew up influenced by a rapidly changing world. World conflicts continued to play out, men walked on the moon, and even the President of the United States was not safe from tragedy.
This cohort was marked by an expanding middle class. Growing up well supported, Boomer’s had confidence in their ability to directly impact their world. They brought that sense of idealism with them into the workplace.
Traditionalists at Work
Born between 1927 and 1945, they are often referred to as the Silent Generation. Though not in the workforce in the same numbers as Boomers, Traditionalists bring a strong sense of organizational loyalty and determination to the workplace.
Their coming of age was shaped by the Great Depression, World War II, and the Korean War. This generation survived dark days, which led to marked resiliency and innovation.
As the parents of Baby Boomers, they sought to insure that their children would not face the same challenges that they did. They worked hard, saved religiously, and built a new level of wealth for their families.
What They Value
- This generation’s values align similarly to Millennials in that they want to do work that positively impacts their community.
- Work matters to Boomers, as well as the legacy they build during their career.
- With instability in the market, Boomers want to find ways to secure a quality retirement. They worry their retirement savings won’t be enough.
- As marked by their early years, this generation still puts strong value on individual choice.
What This Means for Business
- Rules and conformity are signs of stability to traditionalists.
- They have a strong sense of respect for leadership, and titles matter to them.
- Traditionalists are loyal to companies and view work accomplishment in terms of years of service.
In order to meet the needs of Boomers and Traditionalists, businesses should have a well-structured retirement system or plan. EAP programs which offer financial/retirement counseling are seen as very beneficial to both generations.
As Traditionalists leave the workplace, this is a great opportunity to allow them to share their story with younger employees. This is a unique way to celebrate the retiring employee’s accomplishments and show them they are valued, while leaving a legacy for others.
Boomers should also be given ample opportunity to impact younger employees. This might be allowing a Boomer to partner with less senior co-workers in a collaborative project. Asking Boomers how they would like to engage with less senior employees, also allows them greater independence to develop cross-generational programs.
The Wrap Up
Every generation brings specific experience and skills to the workplace. In order for businesses to capture the creativity and uniqueness of each generation, the importance of cross-generational projects, programs and idea sharing must be emphasized.
The reality is adults will spend more of their time at work than anywhere else. So, if we are going to make that type of investment, let’s make it one that leaves a lasting impact. No matter what generation you’re from.