Authored by Center Directors Drs. Michael A. Smyer and Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, "The 21st Century Multi-Generational Workplace," the paper suggests that there are four different ways to look at age in the workplace and each can prompt different responses:
- Age: "Using the perspective of chronological age helps employers to answer the questions, 'How does typical adult development affect the performance of young adult employees, employees at mid-life, and older employees?'”
- Generation: "Looking at age from the perspective of generation can be a helpful, short-hand way to factor-in historical events or culture that may have a long-lasting impact on a specific age cohort."
- Life Course: This "perspective focuses attention on individuals’ 'personal histories' in the context of the wider social-historical-cultural context."
- Career Stage: Not all employees experience careers as a steady upward progression, so that employers can "engage employees in conversations about the next opportunities appropriate for their careers-–regardless of the employee’s age."
The effective management of a multi-generational talent pool requires that employers are able to adjust their thinking so that they can make appropriate use of the four paradigms of age . . . . Each of these helps employers to ask different questions and to think about different strategies for harnessing the experiences of all their employees.Source: Center on Aging and Work/Workplace Flexibility
Issue Brief No. 9 (June 2007)