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Navigating the Multi-Generational Workforce

Rachel Reed
1/17/18 9:17 AM

The disruption caused by rapidly evolving technology paired with the emergence of a new generation of professionals has given way to an almost unrecognizable workforce. In 2015, Millennials surpassed Generation X as the largest share of the American workforce.

Disloyalty between organizations and employees began to emerge as Gen Xers entered the workforce. This generation of “latchkey kids” grew up independent, as their hard-working Boomer parents worked long, dedicated hours. They also witnessed their loyal parents being laid off from long-standing careers as the economy slowed and families separate as divorce rates soared. As they joined the workforce, their upbringing inspired a preference for autonomy, minimized work hours, and work-life balance as they worked to compete with hard-working Boomers.

Boomers and Gen Xers have much different priorities from those of today’s growing Millennial workforce. For example, Baby Boomers are notoriously loyal and work tirelessly for corporations. Gen Xers place greater value on family than on career and prioritize work-life balance over long careers and organizational loyalty. Millennials prioritize career and professional growth over things like marriage and family. In fact, one study found that only 26% of Millennials marry between the ages of 18 and 32, compared to 48% of Baby Boomers and 65% of Silents. Baby Boomers are dedicated to their careers and trust their employers to take care of them financially in return. Millennials, however, expect employers to supply feedback, value their opinions, and encourage personal growth. Gallup found that 87% of Millennials say that professional development is very important to them in a job. This group tends to job-hop in search of fulfilling, exciting, lucrative, and meaningful careers.

But Millennials aren’t the only ones with such expectations - the technology available to consumers of all age groups has created a sizable shift in the way they live; purchase decisions, from to dining and entertainment to vacation can be made in seconds. Communication between brands and consumers has shifted from a one-way broadcast to a conversation. As organizations work to catch up, the employee base itself is changing. The future is blended. That is, the future workforce will be made up of part-time, full-time, freelance, and contracted workers. The blended workforce brings diversity, scalability, and flexibility to organizations and allows outside perspective to eliminate problems and complete projects, all while cutting cost on office space.  

As such, businesses have begun to adapt organizational strategy to attract and retain young talent, as well as adjust to the digital lifestyle the majority of the workforce is accustomed to.





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