Bridging the Gap: Baby Boomers VS. Millennials


Tina MateoWritten by:

Following are some lines you would hear in a workplace today. “Iba talaga sila ngayon? Hindi naman tayo ganoon noon.” “Grabe naman ang higpit ng policy.” “I’d like to explore more opportunities.” “Ang low-tech naman niyan!”

Traditionally in the past, there were the “old timers,” the ones with 20-30 years of experience in the field and the young “hot shots” who were the know-it-alls. The younger workers have historically viewed older workers as stuck in their ways while the older workers have historically viewed younger workers as those looking for a fast-track to the top.

Today’s workplace is a bit more complicated. It is a more diverse one and there is a growing sense that this new workforce is quite different. Never before in history that you would see three or even sometimes four generations all under one roof working side by side, not to mention a new one soon upcoming. Although this diversity can be productive, the challenge is how to get these generations work together toward a common goal without their biases and judgments causing conflict and negative effects on relationships and productivity.

The culture and major historical events of a generation’s time shape the worldview of each generation and how they approach work. They tend to differ on everything from dress code, to work hours, to inter-office communication. The knowledge, respect and understanding of the characteristics of each generation would definitely be of great advantage in maintaining a productive and positive work environment.

Below are some data that show the different attitudes and characteristics of the different generations:

(from General Diversity at Work, National Diversity Council Newsletter, Oct 22, 2016)

A Few Tips for Millenials When Working with Older Generation

  • Accept you have less experience as a fact. Take it as an opportunity to learn.
  • Be eager to learn.  Show enthusiasm and willingness to learn from others.
  • Remove emotions from your decisions and discussions.  Strike that balance between your passion of giving back and the business at hand.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be open to jokes about your age.
  • Be patient.  Don’t expect too much too soon.  Important thing to remember is to make sure your company knows where you’re at and that you give it time.
  • Focus on the task at hand; strive to do what you say you will do; put in the extra time when needed
  • Increase your emotional intelligence.  Remain professional and constructive. Control your temper.  Recognize your emotions and adapt to the others
  • Seek to understand.  Execute with the big picture in mind and ask the right questions.
  • Be humble.  Self promotion is good but be careful not to go overboard. Think teamwork and recognize others’ work.
  • Cooperate and collaborate

It is possible to work  harmoniously together. Every generation has valuable lessons that they can pass on to the next.  The Traditionalists and Baby Boomers have a mastery of their industry and organizations. They can be a source of knowledge that the younger workers can learn from.  The Gen X’ers can often act as a bridge between the younger and the older workers more fairly. The Gen Y’ers can teach everyone a thing or two about technology and how to value work-life-balance.  When members of the different generations are encouraged to work together, it builds understanding and trust, helping create a cohesive, yet diverse team. 


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