Work Attitude- Baby Boomers believe in working your way to the top of the corporate ladder and “paying your dues”. They are loyal and will work hard based on the assumption that it will pay off. Education is great but not as important as experience. Boomers seek prestigious titles and advancements. Millennials are much more likely to possess a college education. But, they typically won’t be as loyal to a company as a Boomer because they want more. They want to do a job they enjoy and can feel good about. Millennials don’t just work to be working; it requires more meaning and fulfillment.
Schedule- Baby Boomers are used to a strict 9-5 schedule and are comfortable with that. Work is work and these are the hours when it takes place. Millennials like to see a little more flexibility. They want work to fit in with the rest of their life. They are complacent working under pressure so feel if they can get the work done; when they do it is up to them.
Evaluations- An employee review conducted once or twice a year is plenty for a Baby Boomer. They are secure in their work and know they are doing a good job. They are a solid employee. A Millennial will require more attention however. They need to be reassured of their work performance and given direction if they aren’t on track. They also want to be heard for the new ideas and innovation they feel they can bring to the company.
Fashion- Baby Boomers are “professional” when they report for work. They dress nice and for the position. This is because they typically see a very clear distinction between their work and their personal lives. Millennials on the other hand are more laid back about work attire and desire more “casual” days. A blur exists between their professional and personal lives because they so often intertwine.
The Water Cooler- Millennials would like work to be a fun and social environment. They want comradery with their co-workers and desire to be a part of the community. They have lived their whole lives this way; in the spotlight. Baby Boomers are more reserved. They keep to themselves or focus on work related conversations while they are on the clock.
Family- Boomers followed a plan when it came time to start a family. Family values are extremely important. Boomers want to keep their family history and memories alive. Work is very important as Boomers want to be able to care for their families and take care of their responsibilities without relying on outside help. Millennials have no problem putting their kids ahead of their careers. Having a family is a very important goal.
So, which person would make a better employee? That really depends on the job. Both groups offer great strengths and talents (along with some weaknesses). If you are able to incorporate a mix of these two groups (and Gen. X as well), you can tap into all of the resources available out there. Tune in next time when I will cover how these groups can effectively work together.
Jolene earned a degree in Sociology from Montana State University. She has done extensive research on the family structure, social media and social class. She writes a daily humorous blog that can be enjoyed at www.alljolene.com. Jolene lives in Montana with her husband and two daughters.