As I mentioned in Part 1 of this blog post, this is the first time in history that five very disparate generations have been in the workforce simultaneously. Previously, we reviewed the who and the what of each generation, but I still want to look at what that means when you’re actually trying to lead an organization. Found Advisors is a small office, having only 6 employees, and we have 4 out of 5 generations working in the same location. I can only imagine the impact this is having on larger organizations.
Reviewing the literature left me feeling discouraged at first. Many articles and blogs focus only on the negatives of each generation. Traditionalists are autocratic and can’t use technology. Baby Boomers only care about their jobs, which is a good thing because they have acquired so much debt that they will be working until they die. Gen X work to live and have no loyalty. All Millennials care about is getting ahead as quickly as possible, refusing to do anything that’s been done before. And who in the world knows what attitude iGen will bring because we can’t get them to look up from their devices long enough to get an answer!
Discouraging stuff, right? Then I looked around at our office. We have a boomer, a Gen Xer, two Millennials and a Gen Zer all working together towards the primary goal of providing exceptional service to each and every client. Our fearless and creative Gen X leader offers a flexible schedule, fair pay and understands that, while we like working here, our sole purpose on earth is not work. In fact, she encourages outside interests, charity involvement and travel. Our millennials get the job done. They are connected, open-minded and incredibly confident and we need their energy to move us forward. Our Gen Zer is and empathic collaborator who is open to guidance and instruction and willing to do anything the team needs her to do.
And, of course, as the lone Boomer, I can’t speak to my own generational peculiarities. But I can tell you that I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the world and about myself because of my co-workers. I appreciate the skills and perspective that each one brings to the team and cannot imagine that we’d be as successful as we are if we were all the same age, looking at the world in the same way. Flexibility and compassion are key and knowing that each person brings something unique to the table allows for exponential success. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see what you can’t see yourself. We’re here to help – whether it’s taking a look at your staff, your space or how they work together, we’re prepared to put our different perspectives to work for you.