Five generations increases diversity in the workforce

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Victoria Salvatore

As the retirement age is rising and a new generation of young people are beginning to look for jobs, the makeup of the workforce is rapidly changing. 

There are currently five different generations working side-by-side: The Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y also known as  Millennials, and Generation Z. 

Every generation has different ways of communicating and varying areas of expertise. For example, many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are not able to understand technology as easily as Millennials and Gen Zers. 

“They (Millennials and Gen Zers) prefer using anything electronic,” Baby Boomer Ron Gustas said. “You guys (Millennials and Gen Zers) like it more than (Baby Boomers) would because you guys use laptops all day long.”

Gustas works in the mailroom at Florida Southern and finds that the students have picked up on the new cloud based mail system faster than he has. 

Dawn Campagna, a Gen-Xer, is a payroll specialist that works with many people from younger generations. She also feels that they are able to understand new online systems better than she can. 

“I’m not able to catch on as fast as they are,” Campagna said. 

Despite the fact that some Baby Boomers and Gen Xers feel like they can not keep up with their younger counterparts, Pew Research found that the older generations are not as far behind as they percieve when it comes to smartphone and computer usage. 

According to Millennial Richard Arthurs, there are some downsides to being too dependent on technology in the workplace. 

“An older-generation individual can count back change properly and not need a computer or calculator whereas the younger generation cannot, or is slowed down greatly trying to figure it out,” Arthurs said. 

Another aspect to consider when working with multiple generations is work ethic. Despite the fact that generational work ethic studies have found mixed evidence, workers find patterns among generational employee behavior.

Gen Zer and Dunkin’ Donuts employee Chris Bradley noticed that when it comes to jobs in the food industry, the different generations’ work ethics and attitudes vary.

“The younger generations just see it as quick money…whereas the older generations pay their bills, so they need to come to work,” Bradley said. 

Gustas says that they have to stay on top of some of the younger workers and others do their jobs efficiently, but he attributes the differences to their upbringings.

With all of the different generations in the workforce it is important to consider how each of them communicate. Arthurs, who manages many people of various ages, says that the older generations are better with communicating about time off while younger generations are not as timely and plan things the day before.

Another thing to consider with communication is that terminology has changed, so it is important to be aware of that when talking with older or younger generations.

“Everybody’s using new words and they say it differently, but that’s normal,” Gustas said.

There are plenty of differences between the many generations, but understanding those differences is key to getting along with your coworkers and thriving in the workplace.

As the retirement age is rising and a new generation of young people are beginning to look for jobs, the makeup of the workforce is rapidly changing. 

There are currently five different generations working side-by-side: The Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y also known as  Millennials, and Generation Z. 

Every generation has different ways of communicating and varying areas of expertise. For example, many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are not able to understand technology as easily as Millennials and Gen Zers. 

“They (Millennials and Gen Zers) prefer using anything electronic,” Baby Boomer Ron Gustas said. “You guys (Millennials and Gen Zers) like it more than (Baby Boomers) would because you guys use laptops all day long.”

Gustas works in the mailroom at Florida Southern and finds that the students have picked up on the new cloud based mail system faster than he has. 

Dawn Campagna. a Gen-Xer, is a payroll specialist that works with many people from younger generations. She also feels that they are able to understand new online systems better than she can. 

“I’m not able to catch on as fast as they are,” Campagna said. 

Despite the fact that some Baby Boomers and Gen Xers feel like they can not keep up with their younger counterparts, Pew Research found that the older generations are not as far behind as they percieve when it comes to smartphone and computer usage. 

According to Millennial Richard Arthurs, there are some downsides to being too dependent on technology in the workplace. 

“An older-generation individual can count back change properly and not need a computer or calculator whereas the younger generation cannot, or is slowed down greatly trying to figure it out,” Arthurs said. 

Another aspect to consider when working with multiple generations is work ethic. Despite the fact that generational work ethic studies have found mixed evidence, workers find patterns among generational employee behavior.

Gen Zer and Dunkin’ Donuts employee Chris Bradley noticed that when it comes to jobs in the food industry, the different generations’ work ethics and attitudes vary.

“The younger generations just see it as quick money…whereas the older generations pay their bills, so they need to come to work,” Bradley said. 

Gustas says that they have to stay on top of some of the younger workers and others do their jobs efficiently, but he attributes the differences to their upbringings.

With all of the different generations in the workforce it is important to consider how each of them communicate. Arthurs, who manages many people of various ages, says that the older generations are better with communicating about time off while younger generations are not as timely and plan things the day before.

Another thing to consider with communication is that terminology has changed, so it is important to be aware of that when talking with older or younger generations.

“Everybody’s using new words and they say it differently, but that’s normal,” Gustas said.

There are plenty of differences between the many generations, but understanding those differences is key to getting along with your coworkers and thriving in the workplace.

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