The United States economy has experienced highs and lows throughout the years. These changes affect everyone in one way or another. The U.S. workforce is not exempt from feeling the effects of the economy. Many individuals across the nation have reassessed their career and personal goals due to financial hardships. One major trend developing is that individuals are beginning careers earlier, and ending careers later. The good old days of retiring at sixty-five are replaced with worrying about health care costs and retirements plans, with no retirement date in sight. Many parents are unable to foot the bill for their college-aged children, so the workforce has also seen a jump in young adults entering into the workforce.
Nationwide, organizations are witnessing for the first time ever, four different generations working side by side. These generations have been labeled as the veterans or the traditionalist group (born before 1945), the baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), generation X (born between 1965 and 1980), and generation Y (born after 1980). As a manager it can be quite challenging to manage four different generations of workers. All four generations have different strengths and weaknesses, so it takes a great manager to merge all of them into one productive team. To be an effective manager of such diverse groups, it takes understanding and appreciating the qualities each generation offers. This review analyzes current research available describing the differences between each generation, how to motivate each generation, and how to effectively merge the generations into one cohesive group.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GENERATIONS
Currently, in the United States, there are over 1 million workers that are 75 years of age or older (Lieber 2010). The silent group or traditionalists are made up of individuals born before 1945. They are typically loyal, highly dedicated employees. They survived through events like the Great Depression and World War II, so they have strong morals and respect authority (Jenkins 2008). These employees value rules and hard work and understand personal sacrifice. Sometimes their no nonsense attitude can come off to the younger employees as harsh and rigid. Some employees may misinterpret this gruff attitude as being difficult and not having a team player spirit. When in fact the opposite is true of traditionalist, they have a strong commitment to teamwork. They have a high desire to develop interpersonal communication skills (Jenkins 2008).
The baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. This is the largest of all generations. Baby boomers define themselves through their careers (Marshall 2004). Some of the major events that shaped baby boomers values were the Vietnam War, civil rights movement, and Kennedy assassination. Their parents tended to follow all the rules, but this generation is known for challenging the rules (Lieber 2010). Many baby boomers worry that technology is phasing out face-to-face...