Generations ~ A Diverse Perspective

Considering the increasing numbers of diverse generations in the workplace or society managing diversity isn’t as easy as it used to be couple of years back. With five different generations potentially, we can see all around be in personal or professional world, each has different expectations, communication styles, and perspective. Major diversity is seen in gender, culture, color, cast and races but one more factor extremely influencing the society, corporates and relationships is diversity of generations.

Diversity in Generations ~ Acceptance 

Before understanding how to go along with these different generations, it’s important to know your surroundings. We can name different generations based on their year of birth for the purpose of our better understanding. 

Each generation, because of the context they grew up in, have very different expectations and experiences. For instance, baby boomers may show very less fascination for technology as compare to Digital natives.

  • Silent Traditionalists (born between 1925-1945)
  • Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
  • Gen X  (1965-1982)
  • Millennial (1983-1999)
  • Digital Natives (2000-Present)

Situation and technology is changing with a fast pace therefore while dealing with kids or young generation one has to ensure – 

  • To be clear and transparent in our interactions 
  • Speed and Agility is crucial for engagement 
  • Technology is a key for success 

Diverse Communication Styles ~ Key for Successful Relationship 

Technology has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. This has affected how different generations tend to communicate in the light of fast changing environment.

Face to Face meetings still considered preferred and impactful way of communication by oldies. Various senior leaders in the corporate explains that they, “embrace face-to-face communication “. Participants having an agenda on paper felt more connected and accomplished during the meeting. It’s critical when you work with a silent traditionalist to 

have face-to-face interactions. Baby boomers and Gen X are more flexible, but all highly value in-person interaction.

Group Interactions or in –person interactions are always preferable mode of communication for Baby boomers too. They have grown in the era where technology was in the evolution phase and most reliable mode of interaction was face to face meetings and interactions therefore more reliance is given to personal touch.

Gen X has a more individual emphasis. They want more freedom and less supervision, and the ability to get down to bottom level of work. Their need of having more physical and psychological space to do their work make them different from their predecessors.

Millennial and digital natives, on the other hand, need technology critical to communicate as they have seen steepest change in communication from landline phones to pagers to smartphones therefore it is basic characteristic of communication through these gadgets. For illustration- the commonly seen conflict in the corporate about mode of communication and style of interaction.

One generation prefer to email or text the message while other generation want it to happen through face to face meeting.

Think of similar understanding issues around you in diverse generations. Important is to be aware about these preferences and respect the diversity around…………….

We have to be cautious and well aware about the impact of different mode of communication with or without technology. Setting up clear expectations of when to use tech and when in-person interactions are more impactful is critical as diverse generations have different preferences.

Appreciate the Diversity 

While everyone wants to be appreciated and recognized for their work, each generation tends to prefer different types of rewards. As it is source of motivation and drive to achieve more in the personal or professional space. For illustrations

Acknowledgment of fundamentals – Silent Traditionalists

Public Appreciation and Share with Family – Baby Boomers 

Flexibility and Monitory Benefits – Gen X  

Career and Social Responsibility – Millennial 

Speed and Freedom – Digital natives

Leverage the Diversity 

The problems arises in diverse generations from misunderstanding and disrespect to each other. Each generation has their own preferences and expectations. For illustration- 

Submissive to authority – Silent traditionalists, baby boomers, and gen X 

Flexible and Adaptive to Technology – Gen X are highly educated than their predecessors.

Quality and independence – Millennial and Digital Natives are more qualitative focused and result oriented. 

So anyone if not able to understand these diverse perspectives among diverse section and generations, conflict and misunderstanding is going to be more prevalent than any other thing in our culture and society. Each generation is having their own preferences and priorities therefore need of diverse group is different. But important point to be considered here is everyone need open communication, appreciation and valued for their contribution irrespective of place or space be it in personal or in professional life.

The beauty lies in difference of opinion, languages, faith and generations. Diversity brings various colours and shades in our life. Similarly those born on the edge of a generation can have traits from both generations which also add on the multitude in the diversity. Therefore understanding of various shades and colour of Diversity in generations helping us to enhance the effectiveness and create a better place for all of us full of love, compassion and gratitude.

“Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us; our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life”. ..Albert Einstein 

Hi I am Vivek, I have worked with notable employers of Fortune 100 status such as Hewlett Packard India, John Deere India, Parle, and ITC. Has more than 20 years of extensive experience in performance management, leadership development, talent management, employee relationship & engagement, industrial relations, executive coaching & mentoring and strategic human resources. He has practiced and perfected the above skills in textile, FMCG, IT, automobile and agricultural equipment sectors.

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