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Five Generations in the Workforce: A Primer

While there are many critical components of successful organizations, the people are undeniably the largest asset of any company. Influential leaders strive to understand their people at every level to motivate and engage them. One essential aspect of understanding and leveraging the experience and talents of the people in an organization is knowing the generational differences that impact skills, work style, and motivation.

What follows is a primer on the five generations in the workforce today, as outlined by Point B Consultants Julie Smith and Susan Garriety. While each generation’s beginning and end birth dates vary slightly by source, we cite dates in this article asserted by Beresford Research.

Silent Generation

The silent generation is the oldest in the workforce today, born between 1928 and 1945. In 2021, these individuals are between the ages of 76 and 93 years old. While members of the Silent Generation will be exiting the workforce in the coming years, they still play a critical role.

This generation includes Warren Buffet, Bernie Sanders, and our U.S. President, Joe Biden. The Silent Generation values commitment, hard work, traditional benefits, and individual recognition.

The key to engaging this group is to respect their experience and institutional knowledge and make space for them to share their wisdom.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers, the second largest group at work after millennials, were born between 1946 and 1964 and are between 57 and 75 years old. Boomers were born after WWII and brought significant changes to the workforce. They were the first generation ever before to have more women between the ages of 22 and 27 going to work than staying home. To engage Boomers, be sure to involve them in decision-making.

Gen X

The Gen X generation is smaller than both Boomers and Millennials; they’re sometimes called the “middle child.” This group was born between 1965 and 1980 and is 41 to 56 years old. This generation is flexible, self-directed, independent, and highly entrepreneurial. To engage Gen Xers, tap into their creativity and drive.

Millenials

Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 25-40), are the largest group in the workforce. They’ve pushed organizations to adapt to the world of technology and they understand the swiftness of change. Millennials are super connected—to each other and the world at large. To engage millennials, help them understand how their work has a significant impact on the organization and society.

Gen Z

Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012 (ages 9 to 24), understands social media more than any other group. They are all about bringing people together around common goals for change. Gen Zers are resilient and very entrepreneurial. To engage Gen Z, leverage their passion.

Striving to understand the broad differences between generational groups is the first step toward bridging them together for the organization’s success. The next, and more critical step, is to talk to your employees to grasp further their unique perspectives, values, challenges, and perceived opportunities. Your employees will have invaluable insights about bringing together the work of multiple generations to achieve common goals.

Infographic: 5 Generations in the Workforce: Keys to Engagement

 

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XcelMil, LLC is a certified Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training.

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Sales & Marketing Intern

Empowering people and teams is our tagline and speaks to the core of who we are and what we do. We are an emerging leader in the Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, and Training Industry. We have invested time, energy, and resources in building brand awareness and serving clients/customers with essential on-demand learning tools. While some of these are the fundamentals, they are not all-inclusive. Of major import is that we are super-excited to welcome you to a team that has a people-centric focus: you. As a member of XcelMil, our ultimate goal is to reverse the narrative about toxic workplaces by encouraging leaders to invest in professional and personal development across the organization, irrespective of business size. Although we remain in a pandemic posture, this brand new crisis created the ultimate opportunity to reach companies globally, not just locally. Here is where and why your role is absolutely significant. We cannot emphasize the importance of Customer Experience (CX) or Customer Service & Support. It is the hallmark of who we are as an organization. Excellence is our standard. We want every customer review to reflect our 3Es: Experience. Excellence. Empowerment.

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SALES & MARKETING INTERN

• Get experience with a fast-growing, industry-leading Leadership & Development company based in Northern Virginia.
• Learn aspects of Business Development, Sales, Marketing, Learning & Development, Thought Leadership, Communications, and the inner workings of a small business.
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• Remote Work. Flexible work schedule.
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