Posted: September 10th, 2022
This module, for your 1-page journal entry, consider the profiles of each of the four generations and share how these profiles apply to your generation. Explain how and why they do or do not apply. How may the characteristics of your generation affect how you are managed in the workplace?
In addition, share one or two strategies that you may try in a real-life work situation to respond to generational differences.
Each generation has had experiences (for example, the Traditionalists experienced the Depression, while Generation Y grew up with computers) which influenced their perspectives.
Each generation’s unique experiences led to unique perspectives and expectations in the workplace. However, many times these perspectives and expectations are contradictory to those of the other generations. This type of diversity is often overlooked in standard definitions of diversity, but it does present a very real challenge to the profitability of a business when it is not handled well. This is why we are starting out with age as the first diversity characteristic we explore. Age is also a very interesting characteristic, because not only is it one that is encountered in most families and social circles, but it is also something that everyone, regardless of their other unique characteristics, experiences in its different stages.
Historical and other influences on each generation will change as time progresses, but there will always be a discrepancy between the perspectives of the old and the young, whether it is due to experience, culture, environment, or a myriad of other factors. This makes age a very important identity characteristic to study in the context of managing a diverse workforce.
Why? Because in order to best manage these generations, a manager must be able to fluidly respond to each group with a style that best engages them to do work at their full potential.
The older generations – some Traditionalists and an especially large section of the Baby Boomers – are slowly retiring and moving out of the workplace. This requires companies to begin to create transition programs where these individuals can effectively train and mentor the next generations, while at the same time planning for their own retirement. It also requires managers who are fluent in generational differences to help make these transitions a positive experience for the employees as well as for the company.
In addition, retirement concerns may cause employers to think twice about hiring older workers. However, since age is a category protected from employment discrimination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it takes educated and aware managers to recognize the benefits these employees can offer the organization when they are managed well. A real sensitivity to age-related matters is necessary for managers in order to both engage and support every generation in the workplace.
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