‘Sharing the Workspace Across Generations’

More than 200 employees from Milwaukee-area manufacturers participated in a recent survey conducted by The Paranet Group Inc. regarding their perspectives on working in a four-generation workforce. Key findings from the survey include:

Gender breakdown: There are 41 percent female Millennials and 59 percent male Millennials in today’s workplace, versus 20 percent female Baby Boomers and 80 percent male Baby Boomers.

Life expectancy: The average life expectancy was 78.7 years in 2010 and 47.3 years in 1900.

Time spent at a job: Millennials are more likely to change jobs quickly because they are new to the workforce and unsure of their career plans and goals. Baby Boomers and Gen X, however, are far more inclined to stay with their organizations for more than five years.

Job searching: Millennials rely on social media, university assistance and job boards, whereas Gen X uses recruiters and leverages personal networks. Baby Boomers are the most experienced in searching for a job, using substantial contact lists to network, social media such as LinkedIn and personal recruiters.

Biggest generational fallacies: Millennials cited their fallacies as “lazy, want it now, no loyalty and tech-dependent.” Gen X’s fallacies are “lazy, job jumpers, non-caring and no loyalty,” and Baby Boomers’ are “old-fashioned, tech-challenged, not willing to change and greedy.”

Company attractions: Millennials look for a casual and fun place to work; Gen X seeks respect, engagement and more challenging work; and Baby Boomers need a culture of integrity, a company in growth mode and diverse/challenging work.

What it takes to keep them: Millennials want frequent feedback, an open door policy and respect for their opinions; Gen X requires advancement, competitive salary/raises and development; and Baby Boomers desire respect/trust, the feeling of importance and inclusion in strategy meetings.

Real world generational issues in the workplace: Millennials say older generations often do not view their ideas as worthy and their education is not respected. Gen X said issues include elders speaking to younger generations like children and poor communication. Baby Boomers cited the issues of personal electronics use at work and unreal expectation of advancement.

Ways to improve generational relationships: Millennials would like more on-the-job training; Gen X wants more external networking and development opportunities; and Baby Boomers suggested mentorships.

Development plans: Millennials said clear goals and continuing education should be in their development plans, while Gen X suggested growth plans and training on new trends and Baby Boomers requested technology training and succession planning.

Common ground: All generations want respect, loyalty and the opportunity to continue learning. Also, trust matters more as age increases.

* The Paranet Group omitted the Traditionals’ survey results from the analysis, as less than 1 percent responded.

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