Cоmpаniеs and mаnаgеrs are bеing chаllеngеd tоdаy with the presence of different generations in the workplace. As one generation is about to retire a new breed of workers are replacing them giving rise to the need to change strategies to attract and retain new workers. Organizations must recognize that the new generation of employees has different perspective on work that influences their work ethics. Understanding the characteristics, values and work ethic of different generations can provide managers with knowledge that would help them design strategies to cater to the changes in the needs and demands of the new workforce.
Characteristics of Different Generations
Today, there are four major generation groups that are present in the workplace: veterans, baby boomers, generation X and generation Y. These groups have different work ethics and values that are influenced by their environment. Understanding the characteristics of each group allows organizations and human resource managers to effectively implement strategies to hire, retain and take advantage of the strengths of each generation.
Veterans can be considered to be the minority of the workforce today because most are already retired. Born between 1922 and 1945, this generation’s significant influence is the 2nd World War (Hammill, 2005). Among the values of this generation would be the respect for authority, conformity and having discipline (Hammill, 2005). These values directly influence the work ethics of veterans in the workplace. Among them would be their hardworking attitude, respect for rules and authority (Hammill, 2005). They view work as an obligation, thus, their extreme dedication and hard work. They are contented with the appreciation in their job and do not expect any monetary or other recognition when accomplishing their task (Hammill, 2005).
The difficulties growing up in the period perhaps is the greatest influence on the work ethics of this generation. When every work is an effort, they value the importance of hard work in their jobs. Similarly, the lack of communication means, e.g. internet, allows them to concentrate on their work more. This makes them more engaged in their work and values it more than their social life. Moreover, this also influences their ability to work with others making them more effective if they are working on their own.
Baby boomers are once the largest segment of the work force. Born between the years 1946 to 1964, they are a product of soldiers coming home from war (Ethics Resource Center, 2009, p 2). The main characteristic of this group would be their commitment to work and loyalty to the organization (Hammill, 2005; Ethics Resource Center, 2009, p 2). This is mainly due to their drive for personal and self-fulfillment (Hammill, 2005). Because of these, they are seen as managers and organizations to be among the most productive among the different generations (Giang, 2013)....