By 2020, it is estimated that roughly 30 million Baby Boomers will retire and Millennials will make up 50% of the U.S. workforce. You are no doubt aware of the apparent differences between generations, but do you know how to make the most of what everyone has to offer in the workplace? Here are some tips to get the best from each.

Boomers (born 1946-1964):

  • They like to be team oriented and are very driven
  • Recognize their value to the organization
  • They appreciate in person classroom type instruction
  • Many may be insulted by continuous feedback
  • They enjoy serving as mentors/coaches
  • Allow for flexible schedules and expect loyalty

GenXers (born 1965-1980):

  • They are self-reliant, risk takers who will question the process, so make them part of it
  • Value their competence and creativity
  • Define their “role” within the organization
  • They appreciate one-on-one coaching to learn skills
  • They value immediate and continuous feedback
  • Give them control over their time, when possible, as they value work/life balance
  • Tap their expertise in technology, as they have no fear and will embrace it

Millennials (born 1981-1995):

  • They are individualistic but also very social and prefer collective action
  • Allow them to multi-task as they sometimes have difficulty focusing on non-stimulating tasks
  • Create a plan for their future with the organization Include role rotation and cross-training
  • They prefer on-the-job training and peer interaction when learning skills
  • Eliminate bureaucracy and hierarchical structures within the workplace
  • Mentor and coach one-on-one
  • They value immediate and continuous feedback
  • Tap their expertise in technology as they do not know a life without it

For a deeper dive into this information, read the work of Catherine Rasmussen, Extension Professor at the University of Minnesota Center for Community Vitality on Leveraging Generational Differences in the Workplace.

* Coming soon, the Digitals or Generation Z workforce (born mid-1990s). This study did not focus on this generation. We did not forget about you Digitals and value your part in the workplace!