The issue of generation gap emerges in many workplaces and social venues. When it comes to Baby Boomers vs. Millennials, there are only perceptions of right and wrong. Baby boomers have been on the front lines of employment for decades. Millennials have not. This should not be a problem between the two generations unless it is part of the “baggage” both generations overlook. By Malcolm Rowlings, January 2017
Boomers have had to adapt to changes in the workplace and employee attitudes. Millennials are relatively new to these changes and are less affected by them. It is right that both Boomers and Millennials attempt to merge their perspectives in order for business to continue to be progressive and also for the workplace to be proactive.
Explaining the Myth of Baby Boomers and Millennials
Baby Boomers are the generation born between 1946 and 1964. In this time frame, massive changes and events shaped attitudes and perspectives of those born in these years. Millennials are those born from 2000 to the present. Individuals born in these years may have also experienced many radical changes and events; but, millennial attitudes and perspectives are nonetheless shaped by daily infusions of social and business ideology.
The myth that Baby Boomers and Millennials are somehow at odds with each other is unproven. The fact that all individuals live in the present with presentiments that form their direction is proof that human nature requires individuals to seek out those who have “been there and done that” even when they choose to “do it their way.” The reason for this is simple: Human nature avoids risk and danger and entertains feelings of hopefulness for success and achievement of goals. That’s the thread that binds both Baby Boomers and Millennials.
Baby Boomers and Millennials in the Workplace
Time management is an operative word that helps to trace the origin of disparity between Baby Boomers and Millennials. Employers across the US are confounded by having at least four generations in a single workplace environment. To achieve business goals, the initiative is to create a solid team consisting of all four generations who offer diverse input with the idea of achieving a single, unified goal.
For many employers and organization leaders, their challenge is to avoid patronizing one generation of employees over another and create an unbiased range of recognition awards. Striving for a wholly unbiased workplace results in each individual providing optimal input focused on the group goals.
Baby Boomers vs. Millennials – A “Non” Issue
The issue in any group isn’t who is right and who is wrong. When leadership directs their group toward achieving a goal, it should be done with limited favoritism of any age group. Baby Boomers cannot erase decades of experience and Millennials cannot erase their natural bent for innovation and ideation.
Experience filters potential risk and problems in innovation and ideation in the same way a design engineer ensures designs are safe and functional. However, new ideas and innovations should become a natural part of group direction.
In a proactively functioning group of Baby Boomers and Millennials, the need to allow all ideas to flow freely requires individuals to “listen” to each other in the same way vocalists in a choir must listen to each other to produce maximum harmony.
Baby Boomers may be right when it comes to past experience. They may also be wrong to insist new ideas of Millennials may not be workable. Millennials may be right when it comes to presenting their ideas. They may also be wrong if their ideas are not beta tested before presentation. Strong cohesion between all age groups should be encouraged.
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