Working with Traditionalists: How Other Generations Can Adapt

Traditionalists are the oldest working generation in today’s professional environments. They bring a wealth of information, knowledge, and experience with them. Therefore, organizations that work with Traditionalists either on their staff or on their Boards are fortunate to have access to their input. In order learn as much as possible from this generation, while they are still present in the workplace, it is critical to know and understand their preferred way of communicating, leading, and working. It is also important to know how and when to adapt your own preferred communication, behavioral, and leadership styles to meet the needs and preferences of this
generation.

Typically, Traditionalists prefer face-to-face communication. They grew up with limited communication technology and they prefer to connect in person when possible. If you cannot communicate in person, pick up the phone and call them. Not only is this respectful to their own preferences, it will allow you to increase your verbal communications skills when there is no written form used. Having a personal touch is important, so try not to talk business right away but take time to get to know one another.

When meeting with Traditionalists, some formal protocol is appreciated. Have someone else introduce you, or if you are in charge of the meeting make sure to introduce everyone properly. You can add a personal touch if appropriate. For example, say “This is Betty Jones. She is the current President of our Board of Directors and has been a member of our organization for over forty years. She is here to provide us with strategic details about our new direction. Also, she is an avid fly-fisher!” Additionally, pay attention to meeting protocols such as offering something to drink and sending the agenda ahead of time so that they can prepare. This is, of course, good to do with everyone, but Traditionalists respond especially well to such protocol.

Their leadership style is based on a chain of command and creating contingency plans. They dislike indecisiveness, disrespect, profanity, and poor dress. They appreciate a sense of formality and high quality work. I always think about how Traditionalists dressed, and sometimes still dress, when going on a plane. They dressed very formal, especially compared to today’s travelers. Keep this in mind when meeting with them in person. Forego the jeans and sweaters and wear something more traditionally professional. Finally, use formal address, such as Sir, Doctor, and Madam. Again, the more professional protocol you use, especially in the beginning, will set you up for success when working with them.

Personally, I learned and witnessed that if you include this generation in inquiry-based conversations and discussions that you can learn about additional leadership approaches to increase your own adaptability. Learn from other generations as much as possible, especially the ones that are currently leaving the workforce. There is a lot to be gained from generational diversity and increasing your own ability to meet the needs of every generation in the workplace.

lotte-small

-Lotte Mulder earned her Master’s of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013, where she focused on Leadership and Group Development. She’s currently working toward a PhD in Organizational Leadership. At ASCP, Lotte designs and facilitates the ASCP Leadership Institute, an online leadership certificate program. She has also built ASCP’s first patient ambassador program, called Patient Champions, which leverages patient stories as they relate to the value of the lab.


At the ASCP Annual Meeting this October, I had the privilege of facilitating a Roundtable Discussion about diversity in the workplace. I anticipated that we might be talking about issues such as culture, religion, gender, ethnicity, educational level, ability/disability and possibly age and generational issues. I was anticipating a very rich and “diverse” list of topics for this discussion.

To my surprise, generational differences was the primary topic for this Roundtable Discussion. There were nine people at our table with representation from both sub-sets of the Baby Boomer group, as well as, the Gen Xers, and Millennials (Gen Y). There seemed to be a strong disconnect between the Millennials and Gen Xers and the older people in the lab, meaning the Boomers and Traditionalists.

The Traditionalist generation only represents about 5% of the workers in clinical labs, however, the Baby Boomers still represent about half of the work force in the clinical labs. The strongest point of dissention seemed to center on “work life balance.” There was clearly a lack of knowledge and understanding on both parts. Baby Boomers are known for their work ethic and learned well from their Traditionalist’s parents and role models. They identify with their job, profession, and career. This is why we still have Traditionalists and Boomers working in the laboratories. They possess the institutional knowledge, relationships, and a strong sense of loyalty.

The Gen X and Y “work life balance” issue collided with the strong sense of work ethic characterized by the Traditionalists and Boomers. However, once each generation were able to share what they valued, there was a light bulb that appeared at the table and the bridge of understanding began to be built.

So what’s the key to collaboration? It’s all about talking with each other and asking good questions. The Traditionalists can learn from our Gen Xers and Millennials and focus on work life balance. Just as it is important for the Gen Xers and Gen Ys to learn about the institutional knowledge and work practices that can be gleaned from the Traditionalists.

Stakenas-small

-Catherine Stakenas, MA, is the Senior Director of Organizational Leadership and Development and Performance Management at ASCP. She is certified in the use and interpretation of 28 self-assessment instruments and has designed and taught masters and doctoral level students.  

Overview of Working with Different Generations: Composite of Current Workforce

There are currently five different generations at work today: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Generation Z. This means that in any work environment, you can have a group of people between the ages of 15-80. This is an exciting time to be working because we can all learn from many different generational experiences, values, and communication styles.

The two largest generations in the work place are the Baby Boomers and the Millennials. This is because these are both the largest generations in terms of population. However, with the Baby Boomers slowly moving into retirement, the Millennials are about to take over.

Traditionalists are still present in the workforce for a few reasons. First, they have tremendous experience and organizational knowledge and many organizations are trying to keep them around so that they do not lose that information. This means that Traditionalists are often Presidents of organizations or members of their Board of Directors. Secondly, Traditionalists are loyal to their organizations and they generally keep working as long as they can because of their values of security and getting the job done.

Generation X and Z are also in the workplace, but neither is very large. However, Gen Xers serve an important purpose because they are flexible and adaptable and because they value work-life balance and constructive feedback. They understand both the world without technology, so that can relate to Baby Boomers, and the world of the internet and social media, so they learn technology fast, which is appreciated by Millennials. Generation Z is only now starting to enter the workforce, so little is known about their work styles. However, they are expected to be independent, entrepreneurial, determined, and loyal.

The key to working with multiple generations is respect. Everyone wants to be respected and appreciated for what they bring to an organization. Being open and flexible to learning about different generational values and communication styles, will set any leader and employee up for success. Provide everyone with positive and constructive feedback and create a work environment that allows for more flexibility in terms of work hours, work location, and dress code whenever possible. Finally, realize that what motivates you personally is not necessarily what motivates other, especially if they are from different generations. Working with a diverse group of generational workers is a great benefit, to both the organization and to individuals.

 

lotte-small

-Lotte Mulder earned her Master’s of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013, where she focused on Leadership and Group Development. She’s currently working toward a PhD in Organizational Leadership. At ASCP, Lotte designs and facilitates the ASCP Leadership Institute, an online leadership certificate program. She has also built ASCP’s first patient ambassador program, called Patient Champions, which leverages patient stories as they relate to the value of the lab.

History of Generations: GenZ

The newest generation, Generation Z, is born in the 21st century. The oldest are now 18, which means that some have started entering the work force in entry-level positions. This generation is even more comfortable with technology than Millennials, as they grew up with computers, laptops, cellphones, internet and social media all around them.

The older Gen Zers are aware of the financial crisis that occurred, which created a strong focus on saving money. This generation was brought up with a sense of “Stranger Danger” so they are concerned with their own and public safety. They have a strong family orientation and consider themselves global citizens. They are characterized by an entrepreneurial spirit, the idea that anyone can be famous, are open-minded, and care deeply about the environment.

Because of the rising cost of education, many are worried about the price of college and about saving money for their parents. It is a little too early to tell because this generation is still young, but they could have feelings of unsettlement and insecurity due to the state of the economy, environment, and world. They are very loyal, compassionate and independent and have friends around the world, even if they have never traveled abroad themselves.

lotte-small

-Lotte Mulder earned her Master’s of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013, where she focused on Leadership and Group Development. She’s currently working toward a PhD in Organizational Leadership. At ASCP, Lotte designs and facilitates the ASCP Leadership Institute, an online leadership certificate program. She has also built ASCP’s first patient ambassador program, called Patient Champions, which leverages patient stories as they relate to the value of the lab.


 

I think we’re embarking on an incredible generation. I interviewed someone from each of our generations about how they observed, interacted with, learned from the Generation Zs. Here are their thoughts.

The Traditionalist: Ned the Grandpa

As the grandpa of two Gen Z grandsons, Ned found them to have an expanded knowledge base of the entire world. They are sophisticated in their analysis and critical thinking because of their exposure to information that their phones and computers provide them.

Lastly, they value human diversity far more than his own generation.

The Baby-boomer: Donna the Grandma

Donna is a “Grandma Boomer” and finds the Gen Z grandchildren’s vocabulary amazing. She says they are obsessed with the mechanical stuff and are used to doing 2-3 things at the same time. They still love sports, however, it’s like a class that they study. They attend practices but still play with their friends on their computers or phones. However, they “only” text. They don’t talk on the phone.

The Gen Z’s are far more sophisticated than the Boomers, yet they can’t write or spell as well as other generations. They don’t know cursive, and the first question they ask when going somewhere is, “do they have WIFI?” Oh, and “do you have a charger?”

Another Boomer: Susan the Grandma

Susan’s greatest concern was that many high-schoolers were being treated for levels of anxiety. Why? There’s no “turn off switch” with the world. They are almost required to stay tuned to respond or react to friends 24/7. Life is all about them from Instagram to Twitter, and Snapchat and tracking the number of followers.

The GenXer, Kim the Aunt

Her nephews are definitely focused on technology. They do not like talking on the phone and prefer to only text. They have incredible access to information, but they still like to play family games because they value tradition. Her nephews are great travelers and most comfortable with airports, planes and trains, Vs. just cars or bicycles. This is attributed to their expanded world. So what’s their greatest fear? A dead battery!

Maddie the Millennial

Maddie was shocked when she noticed that her sister, who is a Gen Z, was communicating via texting with her friend who was in the same room!

 

Stakenas-small

-Catherine Stakenas, MA, is the Senior Director of Organizational Leadership and Development and Performance Management at ASCP. She is certified in the use and interpretation of 28 self-assessment instruments and has designed and taught masters and doctoral level students.  

History of Generations: Gen X

Generation X stands out from other generations in a few ways. This generation is an integral part of the current work force, but both the previous generation (Baby Boomers) and the next generation (Generation Y) are significantly larger. Because they are sandwiched between these two, Generation X will never be the largest generation at work, but they still have a significant influence.

Generation X is the first generation in which their parents either both worked outside of the home in large numbers or were raised in single-parent households. This had a lot to do with the fact that divorce was becoming more common in the Western world and more women started to work outside the home. These children thus grew up a lot more independent and are known in the United States as “latch-key kids” because they would come home from school to an empty house. They started their school years without computers, but many finished their schooling with computers so they were raised in the transition phase from the information to the digital age.

This generation also grew up during significant events that shaped our world today. Some examples are the Cold War, the Challenger disaster, Chernobyl, the Berlin Wall, the release of Nelson Mandela.

Generation X is known for being very entrepreneurial, partly because of their cynical attitude towards large companies who failed their parents, and partly because of their independence, adaptability, and flexibility. Their desires are focused on the smaller scale; for example, they want to save their neighborhood, not the world. Typically, Generation X marry later in life, sometimes after cohabitating, and are quicker to divorce. They see values as a relative concept but they have a strong belief that people should be open-minded and tolerate everyone.

 

lotte-small

-Lotte Mulder earned her Master’s of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013, where she focused on Leadership and Group Development. She’s currently working toward a PhD in Organizational Leadership. At ASCP, Lotte designs and facilitates the ASCP Leadership Institute, an online leadership certificate program. She has also built ASCP’s first patient ambassador program, called Patient Champions, which leverages patient stories as they relate to the value of the lab.


 

Hello everyone.  It’s your baby-boomer, Catherine, again.  I’d like to share with you my experience of what it’s like to be the parent of children from the Gen X generation, and working with a Gen Xer.

As with most of our generations, there are varying dates of when the generation started and when it ended, so let’s make it simple and go with the mid 1960’s as the start of the Gen Xer’s, ending in the early 1980’s.

Parenting Gen Xers 

I’m the proud parent of two Gen Xers. My son Mitch is 45 years old, and my daughter Katie is 42. Just because they are sandwiched between two of the largest generations, don’t underestimate the Gen X generation!  As I researched generations and was writing a course on generations, (“DeCoding American Generations”), it became clear that my children shared in the experiences of this richly gifted generation.

This generation is often referred to as the “latchkey generation.”  My children, Mitch and Katie, were the typical grammar school Gen Xers because I was one of those divorce statistics.  As a single mom, they came home from school every day with their house key in hand.  They learned responsibilities, became very independent, and became street smart.

The Gen Xers were the first to introduce the other generations to the concept of work-life balance. Both Mitch and Katie place a high value on quality of life.  Over the years, both of them have moved from higher paying jobs to lesser paying jobs in order to improve the quality of their family life.

What I’ve learned working with Gen Xers

As a “Boomer,” my greatest learning from the Gen Xers is the importance of work-life balance. In my current position at ASCP, I’ve had the privilege of working with people of this gifted generation.  They not only walk the talk of work life balance; they encourage others to do the same. I’ve listened to their stories and they’re not afraid to change jobs or careers, which is so different from their Baby Boomer parents.  It is often written that they acquired a cynical attitude toward corporate America because of the diminished employee loyalty their parents experienced. However, the Gen Xer took the high road and overcame the fear of changing jobs.  They took what they learned through their childhood and developed courage, the kind of courage that it takes to receive feedback and be the forever continual learner.  I’ll always be grateful to co-workers like Carroll, who would walk by my office at 5:30 at night “tapping her watch.”  She sent the Gen X message that life is about more than just work.

 

Stakenas-small

-Catherine Stakenas, MA, is the Senior Director of Organizational Leadership and Development and Performance Management at ASCP. She is certified in the use and interpretation of 28 self-assessment instruments and has designed and taught masters and doctoral level students.  

History of Generations: Baby Boomers

One of most well-known names of generations, besides perhaps Millennials, are the Baby Boomers. The Baby Boomers generation is currently the largest generation. Of all the generations, they cover the largest span of time (those born from 1946 to 1964). In large parts of the world, there was a big surge in births after the Second World War. That war had a significant influence on their values, perceptions, attitude, and approach to work.

One of the major aspects that make Baby Boomers stand out from previous generations is that this was really the first generation in which women started to work outside the home in large numbers, at least in the Western Hemisphere. This has a major influence on the home and work environment. In the United States, the children of Baby Boomers often had a latchkey around their neck so that they could go home after school without their parents being there.

Baby Boomers played a large role in shaping today’s society; they used music as a political tool, they increased focus environmental conservation, they were involved with the civil rights and women’s rights movements, and they are politically informed and outspoken. It is also the first generation in which both divorce and homosexuality became accepted. Overall, this generation is known for optimism, adaptability, having a strong work ethic, and being team-oriented.

Even though technology did not become part of daily life until Generation X, Baby Boomers witnessed enormous technological milestones, such as the first orbit around earth, landing a man on the moon, and the creation of the first nuclear power plant. All these events set the stage for later advances, and Baby Boomers are typically interested in learning how to use technology, although it does not come as natural to them as future generations. They also have tend to work longer and retire later in age, mainly because they link their self-worth to their job. In other words, their work ethic becomes their “worth ethic.” Knowing this when working with them is important, as they appreciate recognition in forms of awards, title changes, and public acknowledgement for their contributions.

Because this generation spans such a long time (and because some Boomers had children later in life due to second and third marriages), Baby Boomers are parents to both Generation X and Generation Y.  There is a lot to learn from this generation, so next time you work with one ask for some of their insights and understanding. This generation makes great mentors, especially because they are likely to have children of mentee age.

 

lotte-small

-Lotte Mulder earned her Master’s of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013, where she focused on Leadership and Group Development. She’s currently working toward a PhD in Organizational Leadership. At ASCP, Lotte designs and facilitates the ASCP Leadership Institute, an online leadership certificate program. She has also built ASCP’s first patient ambassador program, called Patient Champions, which leverages patient stories as they relate to the value of the lab.

 


 

Here is an interesting fact: there are two sub-sets of Baby Boomers. The first ones are the “Save-The-World Revolutionaries” of the ’60s and ’70s. The second set of Boomers are the career climbers, the yuppies, of the ’70s/’80s. The most profound characteristic of a Baby Boomer is their work ethic. They identify with their job, profession, or their career. So much so, that this generation has remained in the workforce beyond the age of 70.

In a lot of ways, I’m the typical Baby Boomer woman. I married the first time just before I was 20 years old. Divorced in my early 30’s and moved forward in my career because that’s what the “Boomer Women” did. They worked inside and outside of the home.

As a laboratory professional that left the bench many decades ago, and now working in the field of Organizational Leadership and Development, I am approaching the age of 70. I’m starting to realize my retirement day is closer than I’d like.    Like others of my generation, this concerns me because I am defined by my career! The thought of not working left me searching for my identity so much that I started seeing a therapist last year. I was, and am fortunate to work for an incredible organization that doesn’t judge one by their age. They look at the skills and competencies one brings to the table. I’m consciously working on succession planning so that my institutional knowledge remains with the organization and its people. It also helps to have two gifted professionals who wanted to learn from me and grow. Then it takes a manager like mine who supports me through this often painful process. I am blessed with that kind of support. Sometimes the work ethic equals “worth ethic” in the body, mind, and spirit of a Baby Boomer, which is something to keep in mind when working with this generation.

 

 

Stakenas-small

-Catherine Stakenas, MA, is the Senior Director of Organizational Leadership and Development and Performance Management at ASCP. She is certified in the use and interpretation of 28 self-assessment instruments and has designed and taught masters and doctoral level students.  

History of Generations: Traditionalists

Traditionalists make up the smallest percentage involved in the current workforce, but they are the organizational historians as they know and remember the organization’s past and founding goals. Traditionalists are typically born between 1927 and 1945 and grew up during the Great Depression, which was from 1933 to 1938. After that, the second World War started and the U.S.A got involved after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

These years had a significant effect on this generation. Traditionalists are known to work collaboratively, know how to do more with less, and are task-oriented. They typically have a strong sense of what is right and wrong, which was fueled by the historical events in their childhood and early adulthood. They have a strong sense of patriotism and respect for authority figures.

This generation is also one of the first major innovators; they created space travel, vaccination programs, and the foundation for modern-day technological innovations. They were the driving force of the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s and were also the ones that started moving to suburbs. Currently, the are serving on many Board of Directors, as Presidents of organizations or as executive leaders. They have generally moved up in the hierarchy of organizations that they have spent years working for. They are loyal employees who require little feedback from their managers.

Because this is the era of pre-feminism women, the majority of women raised children and only had a job before marriage as teachers, nurses, or secretaries. This generation is self-disciplined, cautious, and self-sacrificing.

 

lotte-small

-Lotte Mulder earned her Master’s of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013, where she focused on Leadership and Group Development. She’s currently working toward a PhD in Organizational Leadership. At ASCP, Lotte designs and facilitates the ASCP Leadership Institute, an online leadership certificate program. She has also built ASCP’s first patient ambassador program, called Patient Champions, which leverages patient stories as they relate to the value of the lab.


 

This generation was born before 1945 and is the oldest generation in the American culture. However, not all of those born before 1945 are alike.  They either fought in WWII or were children through those war years.  The Traditionalist generation are really the first strong innovators and if they are still working they act as the historians of the organization because they have been there for a long time. They often serve on Board of Directors and are Presidents because of their organizational knowledge and expertise. They are typically very disciplined, consistent in their behavior and opinions, and are known for their loyalty.

The majority of Traditionalists are retirees and are the largest lobbyist group, which is the AARP.  If your parents or grandparents were of the Traditionalist Generation, you might have experienced a “waste not, want not” attitude with strong family values, conformity, and team players.

The Traditionalists are often referred to as the “Silent Generation.” This term came from the fact that during this era, the children were often expected to be seen and not heard.

As I pondered this generational topic, I found myself searching for an example of an “Active Working Traditionalist” that I could talk about because they might not have yet retired!  To my surprise I found myself thinking about my Uncle Tom.  This man has taken care of me and his family of five children with my Aunt Pat my whole life. He is a strong family man and then realized he is still working! Uncle Tom (he prefers to remain nameless) turned 83 year’s old this past April 16th.  He is still the principle owner of his own CPA firm and worked those long and hard CPA hours during this 2018 tax season.  As I mentioned early in this blog, all Traditionalists are not alike, and Uncle Tom never expected children to be “silent.”  He valued their opinions, and my Aunt Pat was both a stay home mom and a partner in their CPA firm.

Uncle Tom values the old-time morals of family first, safety, conservatism, patience and financial security.  I encourage you to look around for your Traditionalist at home, or maybe even in the workplace.  Let’s appreciate our Traditionalists while we still have the opportunity to learn from them!

Stakenas-small

-Catherine Stakenas, MA, is the Senior Director of Organizational Leadership and Development and Performance Management at ASCP. She is certified in the use and interpretation of 28 self-assessment instruments and has designed and taught masters and doctoral level students.  

History and Characteristics of Generations

History plays a significant part in the development of any person; we are changed and altered by big historical events that take place during our life time. Understanding history is therefore an essential aspect of understanding people, communities, cultures, and generations.

The oldest generation living today is the GI Generation. This generation was born between circa 1901-1926 and have gone through significant changes in life and work environments during their lifetimes. The term GI Generation stems from the fact that a lot of soldiers from both WWI and WWII came from this generation. This generation came of age during the First World War and the Great Depression and most grew up without electricity, refrigerators, and credit cards.

The Traditionalist Generation was born around 1927-1945, so during the Great Depression and at the end of WWII. This is the era of pre-feminism, so women generally stayed at home to raise children. If women had jobs, it was typically until they were married and in professions such as secretary, nurse, and teacher.

This started to change during the next generation, the Baby Boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964. The timeframe for this generation is so large that there are essentially two main groups: the revolutionaries from the ‘60s and ‘70s and the yuppies of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Women began working outside the home in record numbers, which created double-income households. Divorce also became more accepted and people starting buying things on credit.

The following generation is Generation X, who are born circa 1965-1980. Because most of their parents both worked, this generation is known as the “latch-key kids”, because they would walk home after school themselves as both their parents were working or divorced. This generation experienced the transition to digital knowledge, but remembers a time without computers.

The Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y, was born around 1981-2000. This generation grew up in a world of technology and they have experiences some significant technological advances, which typically are very natural to them. They also grew up with enormous academic pressure and also the notion that you might not be save at school due to school shootings.

The newest generation is Generation Z who are born after 2001. People born during this time have never known a world without cell phones or computer and they are very technological savvy. Growing up during the great recession of the late 2000s, Z’ers feel unsettled and a level of professional insecurity.

The events mentioned above are all focused on events that took place in the United States of America, with some worldwide events included. To understand generations from other countries, it is important to learn about important historical events that occurred, while there are also some events that overlap. For instance, internet and cell phone are more widely available worldwide and there might be some similarities across nations in terms of the effect on generational understanding.

lotte-small

-Lotte Mulder earned her Master’s of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013, where she focused on Leadership and Group Development. She’s currently working toward a PhD in Organizational Leadership. At ASCP, Lotte designs and facilitates the ASCP Leadership Institute, an online leadership certificate program. She has also built ASCP’s first patient ambassador program, called Patient Champions, which leverages patient stories as they relate to the value of the lab.


 

The GI generation experienced events that impacted their assertive characteristics. If you know someone in this generation, they probably worked until they couldn’t work anymore instead of retiring. This work ethic comes from growing up during the deprivation of the Great Depression and are often referred to as the “Greatest Generation.” This term was coined by the NBC Nightly News anchor, Tom Brokaw in his book by the same name.

The Traditionalist generation are, well, traditional.  The value old-time morals, safety, security and may try your patience, especially in the work place. They are still working and act as the historians of the organization and/or the family because they have been there for a long time. You still might see them serve on Board of Directors and are Presidents because of their organizational knowledge and expertise. They are also known as the Silent Generation for an interesting reason.  It was this generation that coined the phrase, “Children are to be seen, and not heard!”

Did you know there are two groups of Baby Boomers?  The first group was born between 1946 and 1964.  They are often called the “Leading-edge Boomers.”  Those born between 1955 and 1964 are often called the “Shadow Boomers or Generation Jones.” The Baby Boomers are the largest generation in the US today, but they are slowly overpowered by the Millennial Generation. The have a team-oriented attitude and take their self-worth from their job. They are driven and optimistic and are often willing to learn how to use technology, but it takes a process as it doesn’t come as natural to them as to younger generations.

The Generation X are often referred to as the “middle child.”  This generation is street smart because most grew up in homes where both parents worked or were divorced. They started school without computers, but are experienced with them. They change careers often and are independent, flexible, and can easily adapt to new circumstances. They have an entrepreneurial spirit.

The Millennial Generation is our fastest growing generation in the U.S. workforce. They are the most diverse and are also known as the “Echo Boomers, Millenials, or Generation Y. Millenials understand the world of technology and it comes natural to them. They are resilient, optimistic, and creative because they experienced enormous academic pressure. They are very focused on professional development and to learn and improve what they do.

Generation Z is just starting to enter the workforce and they are independent, open-minded, and determined. They also have an entrepreneurial spirit, like Generation X, and they are loyal and compassionate. This emerging generation will be our new teachers because their minds work in so many directions because of their technology skills and aptitude.

It is easy to see how working with multiple generations in one department offers a full range of experiences, work styles, ideas, as well as, challenges. How can you improve the generational diversity of your personal or professional life?

Stakenas-small

-Catherine Stakenas, MA, is the Senior Director of Organizational Leadership and Development and Performance Management at ASCP. She is certified in the use and interpretation of 28 self-assessment instruments and has designed and taught masters and doctoral level students.