A Guide to the various Generations, from Boomers to Gen Z and beyond. Understand the various generations of people, their differences and similarities, their unique experiences and perspectives. Learn about the various strategies to communicate and manage a multi-generational workplace.
Understanding the Various Generations
- BabyBoomers: Born between 1945 and 1964, C suite jobs, settled and retired
- Generation X: Born between 1965 and 1981. Coexist with Gen Y, Gen Z. Workaholics. Undergone technological evolution and rise of media. Less dependant on Smartphones.
- Generation Y: Born between 1982 and 1994. Also known as Millenials. Technology is part of everyday life. Transformed from Analog to Digital. Time Magazine in 2004 labeled them as ME, ME, ME generation.
- Generation Z are the group that follow after generation Y. People in this group were born between 1995-2015.
Born after 1994, post Millenial, called Centennials, born with tablet and smartphones. Marked by internet, less human interaction. Multitaskers with limited attention span. Generation that lends voice to Social causes.
- Unique perspective on careers and definition of success.
- More skewed towards interesting job, viz high pay.
- Diversity matters through various dimensions.
- DEI, is not just “Nice to have” but imperative.
- Demand more personalization, more flexibility.
- HR interventions and policies will need to be evaluated
Managing the Multi-Generational Workplace
Workplace of today wants to leverage experience of Babyboomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and may have a word of advice for Gen Z.
Research covered BabyBoomers, Gen X, Millenials, Gen Z.
Among the study findings:
- 69% of Millennials said the demands of work interfere with home and personal life. This compares to 61% of Gen X and 48% of Boomers. One factor is that many boomers may now be empty-nesters which lessens their home and personal life obligations.
- Average hours worked per week was higher for people in higher management positions. However, there was minimal variation between generations in hours worked per week.
- 76% of Millennials have a mentor, compared to only 41% of Boomers. However 26% of Boomers said they do not want a mentor.
- Ranking the importance of compensation, being involved in the community, and making the world a better place was almost identical across generations.
- Overall the study found that in spite of perceptions to the contrary, the views across generations were more alike than different
Generations and Consumption Habits
When it comes to consumption habits, behaviour of Millennial consumers is considerably different to that of past generations.
The Millennial consumer tends to focus on the social aspect of consuming. They are influenced highly by society. The main driver when purchasing brands is what others in their social group will think of them. The key role of a brand for generation Y’s is image, social profiling and quality.
Millennials are attracted to products that are innovative and these consumers are key market disrupters.
The Adoption of Innovation model is often used to track how and when consumers engage with products. ‘Early adopters’ are important to establish brands as they are prepared to take risks and try new technologies early. They influence ‘the majority’ of potential consumers, who if they can see success, will follow and buy into the brand.
Older generation X consumers display different tendencies. Consumption and purchase decisions are usually made on a more rational basis. Factors such as price, influence from friends and family and functionality are key purchase influencers. Generation X consumers are more likely to buy mature products, and less likely to adopt newly launched brands.
Increasingly market research and theory are focusing on this group and the tag “Tribe” is becoming a popular description. Consumer tribes have been described as “a group of people emotionally connected by similar consumption values and usage, using the social ‘linking value’ of products to create a community and express its identity”.
The concept of a consumer tribe bears resemblance to a brand community; it comprises individuals who possess a comparable lifestyle and who can identify with each other through a shared allegiance to an activity. Members share emotions, moral beliefs and have common lifestyles.
Tribes contain key characteristics such as multiplicity, playfulness, transience and entrepreneurship. Multiplicity refers to how persons can be part of many tribes, showcasing different aspects of their personality. Tribes do not dominate the everyday life of the consumer, rather they punctuate the working week.
This is the main difference between tribes and subcultures.
Tribes are usually not built on rational motivations, such as price, functionality etc, but are built on aspects such as aesthetics, emotions, culture, brands, fashion, music. These are all elements of consumerism that are enjoyable.
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