The multi-generational workplace


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I love millennials. I’ve built my career on helping companies successfully integrate younger generations into their workforces. I’ve defended millennials against those who seek to bash them, and I deeply admire their drive to improve the workplace for all of us.  I am happy to be a contributor to the many conversations—at conferences, in the media, and inside organizations—about “best practices for integrating millennials” or “how to attract millennials to your company.” 

What are the different generations in the “multigenerational workplace”?

While these conversations are important, it is also time to start expanding the conversation. It’s hard to believe, but the oldest millennials are actually turning 38 this year; they’re no longer the fresh-faced youngsters that many people continue to picture when they hear the “m” word. Taking their place as the new kids on the block are Gen Z, who are joining a workforce where not just the millennials, but Gen Xer and Baby Boomers are still going strong, with an assist from many Traditionalists still working today

Traditionalists (a.k.a. Silent Generation or Greatest Generation): Born approximately from 1922 to 1945; 46 million born in the United States. Baby Boomers: Born approximately from 1946 to 1964; 76 million born in the United States. Generation X: Born approximately from 1965 to 1980; 55 million born in the United States. Millennials (a.k.a. Generation Y): Born approximately from 1981 to 1996; 62 million born in the United States. Generation Z: Born since 1997; end date and the total number of births not yet determined.

Today, you never know what generations will be represented in any room you step into—every meeting with clients, new customers or colleagues; every networking event; every recruiting or interview conversation—could include people up to six decades apart in age and work experience. One telling statistic is that more than 40 percent of Americans today work for a boss who is younger than they are. That is a turning point in the workplace, which used to be extremely hierarchical, based on age. Now the most experienced or senior person is not necessarily the oldest person in the room.

Generations of generations!

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