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Harnessing the Strengths of Each Generation in the Workplace

Harnessing the Strengths of Each Generation in the Workplace

With the average working age population being between 15 - 64 years of age, organizations across the world are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that their employees, made up of multiple generations, contribute in varying ways in the workplace. Not to mention the fact that the aging population is only set to increase in the coming years, making it even more crucial for organizations to address generational diversity.

By knowing how to leverage generational diversity in the workplace, organizations can not only become more efficient in the day-to-day operations of their business, but also gain crucial insight into their employees' needs and how to support them at work. Whilst we may observe trends within each generation, it is important to note that each individual has been shaped by their own unique life experiences and therefore may not align with the global trends addressed in this article.


What is Generational Diversity?

Generational diversity refers to the existence of multiple generations within an organization or community. The generations who predominantly contribute to today’s working population include The Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. Each generation is made up of people who are different in age and who share differing beliefs, values, cultures and importantly, working and communication styles. To successfully foster an inclusive work environment and embrace generational diversity, organizations need to ensure that each generation's strengths, weaknesses, working styles and opinions are taken into consideration.

Why is it Important to Leverage Generational Diversity for Success at Work?

It is important to leverage generational diversity at work, as this can ultimately lead to greater operational efficiency. Having a generationally diverse workforce will allow your organization to both adapt to recent technology and trends, and have the advantage of strategic insight from experienced, key knowledge advisors. In addition, by valuing your employees equally and celebrating their generational strengths, you’re able to build a better company culture that will allow your company to stand out when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts.

Generational Differences

The Silent Generation (Traditionalists)

The Silent Generation, also known as Traditionalists, includes those who were born between 1928 - 1945. Although this generation is between the ages of 79 - 99 and only makes up a small percentage (2%) of the U.S working population, they do still hold a significant role within the working world, many occupying senior leadership or investor roles. These individuals are known to be direct and loyal in the workplace, mainly communicating through formal handwritten notes and messages as opposed to modern-day technology, like social media and instant messaging.

Baby Boomers

While the Baby Boomer generation still makes up a considerable amount of the U.S working population (approximately 19%), they are between the ages of 60 - 78, and over 10,000 baby boomers are retiring each day. Baby boomers are typically described as positive people who are exceptionally driven in the workplace and who enjoy collaborating within a team. When it comes to communicating, Baby Boomers prefer phone calls and face-to-face meetings.

Generation X

Generation X includes individuals born between 1965 - 1980 and makes up approximately 35% of the U.S working population. Generation X values work-life balance and independence at work, and most often resort to direct and efficient forms of communication, like email or in-person meetings.

Generation Y (Millennials)

Generation Y, also referred to as the Millennial generation, includes those born between the years 1981 and mid 1990s, making up the majority of the U.S workforce at approximately 39%. Millennials generally seek opportunities that challenge them, advance their careers and allow for personal growth. They are also skilled when it comes to technology and prefer open communication styles, like instant messaging and email.

Generation Z

Contributing approximately 6% of the U.S working population is Generation Z, who is both the youngest and newest to enter the working population. Individuals from Generation Z are born between the mid 1990s and early 2010s. Generation Z typically has an entrepreneurial mindset, is tech-savvy and innovative. They value independence and are motivated to make a difference or impact in the work that they do. Generation Z prefer using social media and instant messaging channels as preferred forms of communication.

How to Create a Diverse Generational Workforce:

  • Modify your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to cater to individuals of all age groups.
  • Eliminate age bias and stereotypes when hiring new employees.
  • Use a variety of communication methods (Email, Phone Call, Instant Messaging, face-to-face meeting) and educate those who need upskilling on the necessary mediums.
  • Create a flexible work environment to accommodate different styles of working.
  • Create employee resource groups that foster collaboration.
  • Gather employee feedback through regular anonymous surveys.

The Benefits of Having a Multigenerational Workforce

Including people of varying ages in your workforce will not only contribute to a more inclusive environment, but also increase operational efficiency and drive overall organizational success.

Here are some advantages of having a multi-generational workforce:

1. The privilege of multiple perspectives

Having people from all ages involved in the day-to-day operations of a company, will allow for more idea generation. For example, Generation Y and Generation Z are well accustomed to technology and can create relevant solutions to allow companies to adapt to ever-evolving trends. Older generations, on the other hand, like Generation X, Baby Boomers and The Silent Generation typically have a wealth of experience and knowledge under their belts and can therefore inform company strategy in a different way to younger generations.

2. Troubleshooting skills

Each generation has been through various life experiences that have allowed them to develop their own perspectives, skills and insights. By bringing together a group of people who come from different backgrounds and generations, with varying skills and perspectives, will allow for more efficient troubleshooting and decision-making.

3. Cross-generational learning and development

Giving employees the opportunity to engage and collaborate with others who are not the same age as them, allows them to acquire knowledge or learn new skills they may not have been exposed to before.

4. Reduced stereotyping and bias

Having a multigenerational workforce can help reduce age-based stereotypes and biases.

Unique Strengths Each Generation brings

The Silent Generation

  • Loyal
  • Determined
  • Reliable
  • Tactful

Baby Boomers

  • Hard Working
  • Motivated
  • Team Oriented
  • Competitive

Generation X

  • Independent
  • Flexible
  • Communication
  • Entrepreneurial

Generation Y (Millennials)

  • Goal Oriented
  • Open Minded
  • Efficient
  • Innovative

Generation Z

  • Technologically adept
  • Adaptive to change
  • Global Mindset
  • Innovative

Company Spotlight

The below companies have succeeded in adopting a multigenerational workforce:


In conclusion, having a multigenerational workforce not only has various advantages, but also increases your chances of greater organizational success. By embracing the unique skills and perspectives of each generation, you can contribute to a more diverse workforce.

Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” - George Orwell

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