Generational inclusion can be a slippery subject. Generational differences are not as prominent as racial, gender, sexual identity and cultural distinctions. They tend to sneak up on us from behind since due to projection bias, we assume everyone has the same generational values as we do.
With the entry of Generation Z into the workplace, we are all immigrants to at least 4 different generations, Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers and Millennials. This new development has upped the ante of the importance of recognizing and embracing generational differences so everyone regardless of their generational uniqueness, can meet their full potential.
As a trainer who has delivered over 50 generational trainings, I have observed 4 irrefutable truths when it comes to generational inclusion.
Commandment 1- Every New Generation Brings More Diversity
Since each generation brings more unique differences to the workplace, it creates the potential for not only generational conflict but for racial and cultural discord. This phenomenon is known as the ‘cultural generational gap.”
This disconnect has been created by the increase in Post-Millennials consisting mostly of Gen Z’ers. Fueled by immigration trends, this divide is due to the increase of people of color among Post-Millennials and the overrepresentation of older white people among Pre-Millennials.
The cultural generational gap will be front and center in 2020 when whites will become the minority and people of color will become the majority among people under the age of 18.
Commandment 2-Every Generation is the Me Generation
Time Magazine started the myth that Millennials were the Me Generation. Entitled, spoiled and self-centered was how this generation was described on the cover of their May 2013 edition. What Time Magazine forgot to tell its readers in 2013 was they described Generation X’ers as the Me Generation in July 1990.
To add insult to injury, the New Yorker Magazine labeled Baby Boomers as the Me Generation in August 1976.
Commandment 3-Every Generation Holds the Generation Before and After Them in Contempt
Each generation thinks their generation is the gold standard. As a result, each generation thinks they can change another generation. They quickly discover this is a difficult proposition since 80% of person’s values including generational beliefs are set by the time they reach their mid-thirties.
Commandment 4-It Takes a Society to Raise a Generation
Every generation has been shaped by economic conditions, political movements, social norms and major crises unique to their time. For Traditionalists, it was the Great Depression. For Baby Boomers, it was the Civil Rights Movement. For Generation X’ers, it was the ending of the Vietnam War. For Millennials, it was the Great Recession of 2008.
If we are to be fully inclusive of each generation, we must learn about its history and development. Such awareness about their past can help us understand them in the present.
You will learn that each generation wants the same thing. They just want them delivered in different packages. To be recognized, respected, coached and feel connected to the people they do the work with and the people they do the work for.
The 4 Commandments of Generational Inclusion
Source: HR.com Articles