Four generations in the workplace

Four generations in the workplace

The summer vacation is over, we are going back to work. We have experienced adventures, broadened our horizons and gained inspiration. And we have relaxed, read books – perhaps even a management book – or listened to podcasts. Now the head is empty, just like the agenda – for as long as it lasts, the mailbox is still untouched. Time to look around us and hear the holiday stories of colleagues. The remarkable fact that currently occurs, those colleagues in the workplace can be part of four different generations.

Conflicts between generations
Recently four generations are represented in the workplace. Many Babyboomers are still working while Generation Z enters the labour market. This means that Babyboomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z are working together and they all have their own attitudes to work. This presents both chances and challenges for companies and its employees. At TrendsActive, we have been analysing these generations by desk and qualitative research for more than ten years. Recently, we have conducted extensive research into four generations at work. And we have translated the insights into opportunities and threats for conflicts between these generations in the workplace.

Babyboomers born between 1946 and 1964
Generatie X born between 1965 and 1980
Millennials born between 1981 and 1997
Generatie Z born between 1998 and 2015

Generational diversity
Positive outcomes of generational diversity could be a wide range of knowledge exchange, creativity and innovative thinking. Older generations could learn a lot from the creativity and entrepreneurship of the youngest generation in the workplace, generation Z. At the same time, Babyboomers would like to transfer their knowledge to younger generations as mentors or coaches. A negative outcome could be intergenerational conflict: tension between employees of different generations, often due to a lack of understanding about the other generation. For instance, Millennials don’t see any problem with marching into the office of their manager to speak to him, while Babyboomers see this as disrespectful towards authority.

Growth opportunities
The intergenerational workforce creates new growth opportunities for companies, while disrupting traditional business models and organisational structures. Hierarchical and static structures will become more and more obsolete in favour of agile or flexible structures. Overall, a workforce with a balance of employees from all ages is best able to respond to the increased competition and rapidly changing business environment. At TrendsActive, we have developed a workshop that enables you to gain insight in the opportunities of having all four generations in the workplace.

Learn and benefit
Do you want to learn how you can benefit from four generations in the workplace during a workshop? Then contact our trend consultant Pauline Taks.