Understanding and managing generational differences in the workplace

Understanding and managing generational differences in the workplace Purpose – The modern workplace now consists of four different generations for the first time in history. Each generation, Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y, has been heavily influenced by the events of their time; this creates a new challenge for employers. Companies must make workplace adjustments in order to create a productive environment for all employees, regardless of their generation. This paper aims to address these issues. Design/methodology/approach – The findings of researchers interested in generational differences, workplace communication, management, diversity in the workplace, and many other topics were studied in the production of this piece. Findings – This research shows that employers must identify the separate characteristics of each generation present in their workplace. Further, employers must foster a work environment that aids productivity for every generation; they must give their employees the information and skills needed to understand the generational characteristics of their co‐workers to create understanding among employees. Other steps that managers can take include mentor programs, generational diversity training, and enhanced communication methods designed to cater to each generation's preferences. Originality/value – This literature review takes into account the findings of researchers who have studied the characteristics of each generation and the application of these characteristics in the workplace. The problem of a generationally diverse workplace is present in most companies today. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes Emerald Publishing

Understanding and managing generational differences in the workplace

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1755-4217
DOI
10.1108/17554211111162435
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The modern workplace now consists of four different generations for the first time in history. Each generation, Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y, has been heavily influenced by the events of their time; this creates a new challenge for employers. Companies must make workplace adjustments in order to create a productive environment for all employees, regardless of their generation. This paper aims to address these issues. Design/methodology/approach – The findings of researchers interested in generational differences, workplace communication, management, diversity in the workplace, and many other topics were studied in the production of this piece. Findings – This research shows that employers must identify the separate characteristics of each generation present in their workplace. Further, employers must foster a work environment that aids productivity for every generation; they must give their employees the information and skills needed to understand the generational characteristics of their co‐workers to create understanding among employees. Other steps that managers can take include mentor programs, generational diversity training, and enhanced communication methods designed to cater to each generation's preferences. Originality/value – This literature review takes into account the findings of researchers who have studied the characteristics of each generation and the application of these characteristics in the workplace. The problem of a generationally diverse workplace is present in most companies today.

Journal

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism ThemesEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 30, 2011

Keywords: Communication; Diversity; Employees; Generations; Hospitality; Hotels; Multi‐generation; Restaurant; Workplace diversity

References

  • Understanding generational differences for competitive success
    Glass, A.
  • Generational differences: an examination of work values and generational gaps in the hospitality workforce
    Gursoy, D.; Maier, T.; Chi, C.
  • Generation Y and career choice: the impact of retail career perceptions, expectations and entitlement perceptions
    Hurst, J.L.; Good, L.K.
  • Engaging a new generation of graduates
    Shaw, S.; Fairhurst, D.
  • Filling the gap
    Wagner, K.L.

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