Generational Workforce

By Brittany Wilkey – Employco Human Resources

With the average age of retirement slowly increasing – whether due to financial needs, personal reasons, or simply because the average lifespan is also increasing – it isn’t uncommon to see organizations employing four to five generations at the same time.  Managing and recruiting such an extensive range of age groups can be difficult, but understanding a little bit about the wants and needs of each group can help both employers and employees maintain a cohesive workplace.

The first step is to understand what defines each generation, and how those generations are formed.  Generations are grouped not only because of their age and birth year, but also based on the social and cultural events occurring during their lifetime that ends up shaping their values, concepts, and beliefs.

For instance, a person in their 50’s who has been working for several decades is unlikely to have the same perspective as someone in their early 20’s who is just entering the workforce.  Along those same lines, an individual who lived through the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, or the digital boom, will be influenced by those major cultural events, and those same cultural events will impact how they approach their jobs, co-workers, and the workplace in general.

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