We now have five generations in the workforce. Generation Zen, our newest and youngest generation has begun entering the workforce as summer and part time help. If you thought the workforce wasn’t a stick and sometimes entertaining before, get ready for a wild, wild ride.
- Traditionalists. Known as the Silent Generation. Born between 1925 to 1945, they prefer face-to-face meetings and like their Boomer counter parts are often tolerant of technology.
- Boomers. Now the second largest, generational workforce and born between 1946-1964. Very traditional in nature, they have work to live instead of live to work like their Generation Y and X. Millenials think this group is rigid and tied to corporate rules and policies.
- Generation X. Born between 1965-1980. Millenials think this generation is bitter, jaded, and jealous. Gen Xers are self-reliant and many grew up as latch key kids. This generation is much smaller than Boomers and Millenials mostly due to the invention and wide-spread use of the birth control pill.
- Generation Y. Also referred to as Millenials and are born between 1981-1995. Seen as optimistic and needy by their Gen X managers and co-workers. They are the technology generation. This group prefers constant daily feedback versus an annual employee performance reviews.
- Generation Zen. 1996 – present. Known as Digital Natives or Gen Z, this group is just joining the workforce. Among their many talents are texting and ability to program a new piece of technology before many of us can even bat an eye.
Since each generation is influenced by different life moments, it makes sense that your generational recruiting and marketing tactics should do the same. Companies like Facebook and Google appeal to young Millenials where skateboards and jeans are all part of a days work. For the rest of us who do not have the ability to offer a college campus workplace mentality along with the high paying salary to match, it’s important to consider what drives these generations to work. For Millenials, they live to work and recruiting campaigns should focus on things like workplace flexibility as well as your impressive vacation and PTO package. For Boomers, it could be your competitive 401(k) match with two year vesting plan.
Whatever it is, it’s important to start the conversation appropriately and effectively. And here’s a great place to get you started, the Center for Work-Life Policy released their 2009 study called Bookend Generations. It provides some interesting insights on what motivates and matters to the different generations.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.
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