With an age gap of nearly 50 years between the oldest and youngest employees in some organisations, there is a broad range of perspectives, needs and attitudes floating around the office, and while generational diversity in the workforce promotes a broader range of talent, it can often mean conflicting ideas and stereotyping.

The Colour Works believes recognising and valuing difference can empower individuals, teams and entire organisations. Generational differences are one of the countless hurdles that can get in the way of exceptional teamwork.

The Basics

Baby Boomer – born between 1943 and 1960 (aged 55-72 today)
Gen Xer – born between 1961 and 1981 (aged 34-54 today)
Millennial – born between 1982 and 2002 (aged 13-33 today)

As self-autonomy diminishes throughout the generations, expectations of instant gratification heightens in a world where everything is easily and globally obtainable with the click of a button. Though it’s important not to pigeonhole, shared similar experiences of a generation can clue us in, generally speaking and on a top level, to why they are how they are and, indeed, how to work with them.

The Problem

2015 has seen Millennials dominate the workplace, comprising more than 40% of the UK workforce, and many Babyboomers leaving, taking a wealth of knowledge with them.

Whilst the workforce is at its most diverse thanks to equality laws, the huge differences in needs and expectations amongst it is makes for a complex set of management issues that employers need to face head-on.

43% of organisations do not have a talent plan in place at all, and, though it is on the increase, many organisations have even retired topics like talent management and employee engagement since the recession in 2008.

Efficient and effective management of your people, and championing of the values different generations of workers bring, will become increasingly indispensable as the working landscape changes.

The Fix

Whilst the current education system struggles to produce work-ready youngsters, workplace training is still in decline.

Employers face a serious set of challenges. They must appeal to and cater for a multitude of conflicting needs across different generations; navigate a complex set of employment legislation; and address what their own role should be in helping to shape what some business leaders have described as a failing education system – to name a few.

Tips and Pointers

– Boomers and Xers had a hugely higher level of independence and freedom, (Xers being the ‘latchkey’ generation), so don’t be surprised if they choose to work alone or expect you to do so.

– Millenials on the other hand, thanks to the ever-growing ease of technological communication, were not left to their own devices half as often.

– Taking that point forward, Millennials tend to need and expect more encouragement. Theirs can be heard to be named the generation of ‘Everyone’s a winner’, featuring high levels of praise and encouragement.

– Xers as leaders will not parent you – they are likely to use a hands-off approach and will expect the same entrepreneurial energy from you as they have developed themselves.

– Expect Xers to vet even the best of ideas. Try not to take it to heart, they grew up questionning everything

How We Can Help

At the heart of what we do is the belief and understanding that it all starts with you.

Using the vehicle of the Insights Discovery Profile, we get you reflecting on who you are, understanding how others may perceive you and starting conversations to improve personal effectiveness and quality of relationship.


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