What's all the nonsense about Generations?

I – Generation, millennials, Generation Y, Generation X, Generation Z, baby boomers... what does it all mean? There are literally thousands of articles written with opinions and commentary about the generations about what they want and need to be productive and how you can adjust your company to attract them but what does it really mean to you?

You could spend days, weeks and months reading all the content and researching exactly what impact the current demands of the generation will have on your company. After all they are different, have been shaped by different advances in technology and economic environments. I personally love all the research about generations and reading about the reasons for different generations reportedly acting in the way they do but ultimately there are three things I would consider to be important to the majority of businesses and recruiters if they are thinking about generations:

1) Be clear about what you are offering:

  • Ensuring you know what is on offer to prospective and current employees and that you are transparent and able to articulate exactly what that looks like; is the first step to being able to deal with generations.

2) Seek feedback:

  • Speak to everyone about what they are feeling, take regular health checks of the impression both prospective and current employees have about what you are offering and the culture of your organization.

3) Continuously re-evaluate whether you have the right employees for your organization:

  • If you find you do not have the right employees for your organization then chances are you are doing something wrong in terms of culture or offering and you can then link back to point 1…

So what about the different generations? Well in my opinion, it really doesn’t matter what generation is coming through as long as you recognize that each person is an individual and that there are differences in generational trends due to societal norms. You really do not need to worry too much about the exact differences between those in the I Generation and those that are Baby Boomers. Leave that one to people like me and others who have the time and interest to do the research but if you get the above three points right generational theory really should not matter.