Multi-Generational Workforce

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Multi-Generational Workforce

Over the past sixty years, there have been three generations, the Baby Boomer Generation, Generation X, and most currently Generation Y, also known as Millennials. As these various generations work side-by-side in the workplace, organizational behavior has changed to adapt to each generation. Managers are dealing with a generation that has a unique work ethic when compared to their more experienced colleagues. Interestingly enough, organizations and researchers are just now beginning to address issues related to generational differences that may have a significant impact on the leadership and success of the organization. It becomes imperative to learn as much about the Millennial Generation as possible. Thus, this study strives to learn more about millennial job satisfaction and organizational commitment levels based upon gender and whether or not Millennials with a graduate level degree are more likely to stay with an organization than Millennials without a graduate level degree. Baby Boomers are starting to retire and as a result more Millennials are being hired throughout the nation. As such, the differences among the generations in the workforce can create some problems for managers who are responsible for making sure that tasks are being completed. As a matter of fact, differences create problems among team members that ultimately result in reduced effectiveness. The following table depicts the three different generations currently in the workforce and when they were born.

Three Generations in the Workforce

Generation Date of Birth
Baby Boomers 1946-1964
Generation X 1965-1980
Generation Y or Millennials After 1980

In order to correctly understand Millennials, it becomes imperative to also understand their more experienced counterparts. As mentioned above, Baby Boomers were born between the years 1946-1964, and are the largest group (representing approximately 79 million in the US) of the three generations. In a recent survey, millennials rated compensation/pay as an important factor in job satisfaction. Meanwhile, it ranked as the second most important driver of job satisfaction for Generation X employees. Job security and the opportunity to use skills and experience topped the list for Generation X (67percent) and Baby Boomers(63 percent), respectively.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers include the American males who returned from tours of duty during World War II. Consequently, the young males started families resulting in a large number of new babies (baby boom). Baby Boomers who were born in the United States were raised in a prosperous economic time. Baby Boomers are optimists who grew up expecting the world to progress and for the wars to end. After some of their icons were assassinated (e.g., Martin Luther King and the Kennedy brothers), this generation rejected traditional norms and values. Furthermore, this generation did not grow up dependent on technology. As a result, they view technology as “artifacts” of organizational culture. In regards to understanding this group, Baby Boomers possess traits that are shared among the members of other generations. Baby Boomers enjoy having the autonomy to focus on some of their own hobbies (e.g., playing golf, gardening, volunteering, and just relaxing). The majority of Baby Boomers prefer having flexible work options, acknowledge the importance of work/life balance, and prefer to work remotely. Furthermore, Baby Boomers like to volunteer and help keep this planet healthy. As the Baby Boomer Generation prepares for retirement, the next generation (Generation X) will be taking over many of these positions.

Generation X (Gen X)

Generation X encompasses the 44 to 50 million Americans born between 1965 and 1980. This generation marks the period of birth decline after the baby boom and is significantly smaller than previous and succeeding generations. This generation has unique traits. For example, they are often described as individualistic, risk-tolerant, self reliant, entrepreneurial, comfortable with diversity, and valuing work/life balance. Some researchers have concluded that this generation can be less formal in certain situations. Generation X managers will typically be less formal, and more adaptable than their predecessors. Gen Xers tend to focus on outcomes rather than the process. Other researchers have concluded that this generation lacks people skills. For Gen X managers, the trait of independence comes with negatives: being impatient, having poor people skills, and working from a place of cynicism. They are also very straightforward and tend to lack people skills, which may affect employee retention. As managers, this generation uses a contingent based style depending on the situation that they are facing. In one study, Generation X managers labeled their leadership as situational, as opposed to Boomers who discussed servant leadership. They prefer direction such as “do it your way”, and “there aren’t a lot of rules here” messaging, and utilize the same styles themselves as leaders. The next generation has proven to be a powerful force in the workforce because of their technological proficiencies.

Generation Y (Gen Y or Millennials)

Millennials have grown up in the digital age. They show greater familiarity than previous generations with communication, media, and digital technologies. Because they are more “wired,” this gives Millennials a competitive advantage and makes them an asset when it comes to working with new technologies. Millennials are also sometimes called the “Trophy Generation” or “Trophy Kids”, based on the emerging trend in sports and competition to reward everyone for participation, rather than for winning. Because of this experience they have been said to reject in-house competition and politics. Furthermore, because many watched their parents be adversely affected by the Dot-com bubble burst and high rates of divorce and layoffs, millennials are thought to be skeptical of long-term commitments, and are said to desire greater flexibility in their career. Members of this generation are described as preferring collective action, working in teams, wanting work that really matters to them, and being civic-minded, eco-aware, confident, conventional, optimistic, and socially conscious. One research study described Millennials as “opinionated” and they expect to be heard. As such, the goal should be to learn more about Millennials because they will be leading organizations of the future.

Then, drawing on the material in the background readings and doing additional research, please prepare a 4-5 page paper (not including the cover and reference pages) in which you:

  • Analyze the importance of a multi-generational workforce from a human resource professional perspective and discuss strategies for selecting and recruiting a multi-generational workforce.
  • What trainings could you provide to help a multi-generational workforce work collectively?
  • Discuss an effective and unbiased hiring process framework of selecting, interviewing, and recruiting a multi-generational workforce.


Your paper will be evaluated on the following points:

  • Precision – Does the paper address the question(s) or task(s)?
  • Clarity – Is the writing clear and the concepts articulated properly? Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of response to the questions, or are excessive use of quotations how thoughts are conveyed? Are headings included in all papers greater than 2 pages?
  • Breadth – Is the full breadth of the subject addressed?
  • Depth – Does the paper address the topic in sufficient depth?
  • Grammar, spelling and vocabulary – Is the paper written well – is the grammar, spelling, and vocabulary suitable to graduate level work?
  • Referencing (citations and references) – Does the paper use citations and quotation marks when appropriate?
  • Critical thinking – Is the subject thought about critically, i.e., accurately, logically, relevantly, and precisely?
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