Sunday, November 29, 2009

Study: Generational Differences at Work More Matter of Perception than Reality

Differences among the generations in the workplace--Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y--are more about perception than reality, with each viewing other generations more harshly than they view their own. However, according to a Conference Board of Canada study, the generations are more alike than they realize.

The report--Winning the Generation Wars: Making the Most of Generational Differences and Similarities in the Workplace--is based on a literature review as well as a survey of over 900 workers. According to the report, negative stereotypes of the three generations include:
  • Boomers are seen as less comfortable with technology, less open to change, and less accepting of diversity than other generations;
  • Generation X workers are seen as cynical, independent, and easily annoyed by any hint of being micro-managed; and
  • Generation Y workers are seen by older colleagues as lazy, difficult to manage, and perpetually prepared to bolt from the organization as soon as another opportunity arises.
Tim Krywulak, Senior Research Associate, said that “This research shows each generation includes workers with similar personality types, workplace motivations, and social behaviours. Workers from all three generations want respect, flexibility, fairness, and the opportunity to do interesting and rewarding work.” Employers should manage the differences in perceptions among the generations while recognizing the cross-generational similarities in workplace preferences, by, among other things:
  • implementing programs, policies and practices that respond to the cross-generational desires for respect, flexibility and fairness in the workplace;
  • building a culture of inclusion to address the negative stereotypes about the generations in the workplace; and
  • learning from effective practices used by other organizations.
Source: Conference Board of Canada News Release (November 16, 2009)

No comments: