In today’s multigenerational workplaces, it is essential that we create more respectful workplaces and make connections with customers of each generation by committing to understanding where each generation is coming from. We have clues from generational research that tells us what is important and what motivates them.
What do we know about Traditionalists (ages 64-84)?
Traditionalists are frugal, known for purchasing national brands and choosing inexpensive options. They believe loyalty is earned. Motivated by safety, security and stability, they like conservative images and longevity. Known for communicating face-to-face, they appreciate direct conversation inside a company and word of mouth as a marketing tactic. Their handshake on a deal is as good as law. To optimize profits, maximize credibility and relationships.
How do you connect with Baby Boomers (ages 45-63)?
Boomers have mellowed with age and yet still continue to transform whatever they touch. Buoyed by power, prestige, and process as motivators, they are concerned about image and keeping up with the Jones. They also appreciate the back-story.
They are becoming more holistic, spiritual, and are into living more simply after a wild ride of consumerism. They still value choice. The 60s have been reawakened, working into their love of a cause and being of service. They are ambivalent about change so do not introduce it too fast. To maximize profits, emphasize relationships and status.
What’s with Gen X (ages 29-44)?
Gen X is the don’t pussyfoot around generation. They appreciate direct communication and results. No need to warm them up. Just get to it. Gen X is a bit cynical and appreciates humor. They listen intently, get the point quickly and make their own decisions. They intensely dislike hype and are skeptical. They embrace and value technology as a lifestyle need.
Gen X works smarter and has a better work/life balance than Boomers. They can say no. They want downtime and will take it for themselves and their families. They like to create hybrid products and services that match what they need. To maximize profits, emphasize results and efficiencies.
How do you work with Gen Y (under 28 years old)?
Gen Y is all about cause, community, and creativity. Using the newest and greatest technology is the way to their hearts. They will choose socially conscious products and services over those that are not.
Gen Y also values fun, freedom, friends, and family. They want a say whether that be input or feedback. Unlike other generations who might have hoped for happiness, they expect it. They desire different experiences, stimulation, and authenticity. They embrace diversity and see through race, religion and sexual orientation as a barrier. Isn’t that beautiful? To optimize profits, maximize relationships and uniqueness.