Generational gaps in the workplace

The generational theory was first promoted by two Yale, and Harvard trained political economists Howe and Strauss. They suggested that there are value bases for each generation. Even though at the time this would look like just another theory based on research, most employers will agree that in a multi-generational workplace, the approach and value of each employee is largely influenced by their generation.
It is therefore vital to understand the expectations of each generation more so in the luxury industry to make sure that you get the right talent for the right job.


Most boomers in the employment world today are mainly in management, and they set the rules. Their expectations include;

Hard work
Boomers are hard workers. They are willing to bend their back for the success of the brand, and that is how they got to where they are. They have a ferocious work ethic that they stand by, and they expect those below them to work as hard as they did.

Boomers expect other employees to sacrifice their personal life for the sake of professional life. Even though they will occasionally talk about balance, the only balance they refer to is making sure that your work is always a priority.

Boomers have excellent team building skills, and they know how to keep a team together. You will be expected to be part of a team and comply if you are working under a boomer.

Gen X

The Generation X population is just starting to occupy positions of decision making and influencing the management. There is no question that they have spent most of their time trying to adapt to the boomer mold and would love to catch a breath of fresh air.

Unlike boomers, Gen X’s desire to have a balance that allows them to balance personal and work life. They are more motivated by the reward of flexibility than they are by money and they know how to use technology to achieve that balance.

After having tried and suffocated under the clutches of Boomers, Gen X’s see change as a good thing. Moving from one responsibility to another and being in a work environment that supports regular change. Ideally, an organization that would like to keep a Gen X around for 12 years would have to draft four 3-year contracts with plenty of change in the work commitment.

Unlike the boomers, they prefer to be treated as individuals and prefer individual performance as opposed to a team.

Gen Y

Most in this group are just starting to get into employment, and the wave of change they will bring is something that every employer should expect.

They have grown up with technology, and they know how to apply it and expect the workplace to have connectivity and policies that support technology.

They want to be part of something bigger to fuel their passion. They hold dearly the ability to be able to contribute something bigger than them in the workplace, and any employer needs to have systems in place that allow them to achieve that.

Don’t expect them to take things lying down. They will question everything even change. They don’t just do as they are told, they hope to be consulted and given a chance to voice their opinion. They appreciate transparency and expect that the same is extended to them.

Whether you employ Boomers, Generation X or generation Y team member they will all have strengths that will fit well with your company. The key will be to ensure that you create a positive and interactive working environment in order for your team to bloom and work well together. On the contrary if this working environment is not well thought, you will have bottlenecks that will be hard to overcome and more turnover.

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