August 13, 2014

Do you know the traits of your multigenerational staff?

In a past blog post, I covered how to retain a multigenerational workforce, and I was recently asked by Human Resource Executive to weigh in on the issue, specifically covering Gen Y’s traits. Managing many generations under one roof is ever present for today’s employers; more than ever, we are seeing staff that is diverse in ages, attitudes, behaviors, wants, and needs. I believe to successfully supervise any generation you must first understand them, which starts with knowing their key traits.


Of course each employee has individual characteristics -- no matter his or her age -- but overall, each generation carries with it certain qualities that impact performance. With the help of my colleagues, Angie Salmon and Wayne Larson, we pinpointed the key features of each generation. The graphic below highlights a few of those traits.



It is obvious that each generation differs from the next. However, there are management techniques that can be used for all. Consider:

  • Avoid judgment and assumptions
  • Focus on employees’ skills, not their ages
  • Build on the strength diversity provides
  • Ask and listen, and be flexible
  • Set clear, specific expectations

 At the end of the day, you will have a much better chance of managing the multiple generations of today’s workforce if you simply understand their needs and respect the differences among them.


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