Today’s workforce consists of four generations, each with a different set of goals, aspirations and values.
- Veterans. Born prior to 1946, this generation makes up 7.5 percent of the current workforce. They value hard work, responsibility and rank/status.
- Baby Boomers. Born between 1946 and 1964, “Boomers” represent 42 percent of the workforce. They value teamwork and competence.
- Generation X. Born between 1965 and 1976, “Gen-X” comprises 29.5 percent of the workforce. They value family time and life balance. They work hard, but they don’t live to work.
- Generation Y. Born between 1977 and 1986, “Gen Y” totals 21 percent of the workforce. They value individuality and mobility. More than any other generation, they embrace technology in the workplace and their personal lives.
To retain Veterans and Boomers, do the following:
- Focus on the “what” and “how.” Tell Veterans what to do, tell Boomers how to do it.
- Ask for their ideas and input.
- Set very clear performance goals and expectations.
- Value their age and experience.
- Focus on the big picture and long-term.
- Don’t micro-manage.
- Recognize and reward their long hours and hard work.
- Offer flexible schedules for those who don’t want to retire but no longer want to work full-time.
To retain Gen-X and Gen-Y employees:
- Provide plenty of training, mentoring and feedback.
- Explain the “why” of every assignment.
- Hire managers who excel at building relationships.
- Create an environment open to diversity (people and ideas).
- Offer a competitive salary based on work, not seniority.
- Provide recognition, respect and responsibility.
- Explain the big picture of what your organization does, where it is going and how each individual fits in.
- Provide opportunity regardless of age or tenure.
- Respect their individuality (e.g., tattoos, hair color and body piercings).
- Surround them with talented peers.