Managing GenXers and GenYers in the Workplace
There was an article, which mentioned that GenYers are the doers and the GenXers are the whiners. Then it would be unfair if we label the two types of workers from these two generations as that — it would even be unfair to the GenXers to be negatively tagged as such.
If you are in the position to handle people that belong to these two generations, how would you do it? First, one should do—understand the two types of workers. You just don’t easily label them with this and this and that…
Who are the GenXers? Who are the GenYers?
GenXers are born between mid 60s and late 70s and their number is approximately 78 million. In Susan Littwin’s book, she described Xers as the Postponed Generation. Perhaps, one trait that GenXers are being tagged as whiners because they aren’t passive, but active individuals and extremely media savvy. They don’t want to be sold, but they just want simply straight facts. To simply put it, GenXers are leaders and trendsetters in business [entrepreneurs]—which brings to the fact that others find them whiners. They think and refuse to be spoon-fed.
What about GenYers? These are the people who were born between 1980 to 1994. They are also called as the Echo Boomers, Generation “Net” and the Millennium Generation. In an article titled, Next up: Generation Y, Ready to Learn and be Team Players, it states that, “Generation Yers are less homogeneous than previous generations… They have been raised as self-sufficient children, who have been unrestrained in expressing their emotional opinions.”
So if GenXers are considered technically fluent that they are qualitatively different, GenYers learned to use computers at an early age, often in their learning day care centers (that’s too early, huh?).
Understanding the 2 Generations.
Let us help you figure out traits that may be of help in dealing and handling your people who belong to the two generations.
GenXers Traits and Values are as follows:
- GenXers are pragmatic. Life is full of complications and it is a game of survival. Since, the individuals who belong to this age bracket, finds life hard and there are no guarantees to it—they simply are realistic, not expecting too much.
- They are flexible and adaptable. Correlating it to life is hard and no guarantees, they see life a constant and a cycle of change. It is inevitable.
- Brave enough to make choices and not scared of change. Since they are positive about change, they are risk-takers. For them, life is full of tradeoffs and choices and these aren’t to be feared, but obstacles to be confronted and to overcome. They’re like Alexander the Great.
- They have a live-for-today mindset. The future for them is uncertain that’s why they savor each moment like climbing each mountain one at a time.
- Possesses unique sense of humor. Dubbed as ironic detachment. They view life that sooner or later, you’d screw up or fate will screw you up and there’s not much you can do about it—rather than laugh at it.
- Wary and distrust institutions. Xers are sensitive on relative truths (from the perspective I can see where you would feel this way) as opposed to absolute truths (which would apply to everyone in all conditions). They are too skeptic about institutions that look out for their interests. They have this thinking whether media or government agencies, if it’s big you probably can’t trust and has never done anything to help.
- Resilient and has the entrepreneurial spirit. Their confidence is enough to rely on. They have too much faith in themselves, have the ability to solve their problems and navigate life.
- Technologically fluent and are qualitatively different. Literally, most of them grew up with the technology and want inter-connectedness and want real action as opposed to GenYers' claim that they’re the doers.
- Savvy media consumers. If they want action it only proves that they’re no-passive audience, they are active and don’t want to be dictated, but would want to think for themselves.
- Feels the need for community and balance. They crave for support system, perhaps due to growing up with one-parent setup or grew up in uncertainty and instability. They don’t want to commit the same pitfalls their parents had, as much as possible they seek balance in their careers and families.
GenYers Traits and Values are:
- Only few of them are slackers. They score high on maturity and their attitude is often edgy, still they’re very positive-thinkers!
- They’re smart and interactive too. Just like GenXers, they too exhibit the same traits and values.
- Internet generation. Also technically adept to the Web revolution; uses it to their advantage as their means of communication, as a way to grow with the aid of clicking and ticking using the mouse or keypads!
- Nurture high aspirations for the future. Three out of four have working mothers and are responsible individuals. Diverse, flexible, fun and creative individuals that are most likely to become excellent employees.
- Nonconformists.[ Corporate casual clothing appeal to them, the likes of loose, multi-colored clothing fitted for their surfing, dancing and roller-blades lifestyles. Pulsating music, platform shoes, baseball hats and sports utility vehicles. Also enjoys electronic gadgets (to the minutest) and fond of shopping online 24/7.
How to deal with these 2 Generations?
If you are someone that handles these two types of people, then here are tips how to work with them, not against them.
For GenXers, managers and supervisors should take advantage of their entrepreneurial spirit and creativity rather than requiring them to pay their dues and follow ineffective ways like “we’ve always done it here”. Make work a fun-environment and provide a meaningful link to improving the human condition by making feedback regular and specific.
On the other hand, GenYers should have regular coaching, computer-based training, lifelong learning and clear-growth opportunities because they’re into neo-traditionalism: return to tradition and ritual, which includes marriage. They’re focused on finding the right ONE, like in the movie, Matrix and seek opportunities to meet others in values-oriented activities, friendship, and situations. They believe in the spirit of volunteerism.
There you go, this may yet just an overview, but short as this may be, this can already help you manage to balance the people you’re working with from these two generations.