Working Across Generations | U.S. Standard Products

Tips for Working Across Generations

In many cases, a company’s employee base is its most valuable asset, especially in the skilled trade industries—and if organizations are going to thrive in the years to come, they’re going to need to learn how to attract and retain employees of future generations. As more and more of the baby boomer generation retire from the workforce, it’s time for companies to start accommodating the work preferences of Gen X and Millennial workers.

In this blog, we’ll identify the defining traits of employees from these two generations and explain how companies can best adapt to the changing workforce demographics.

Millennials

By 2025, it’s expected that Millennials, those employees roughly born between 1982 and 2004, will make up 75% of the workforce. As companies move forward, it’s critical to keep these employees’ work styles and preferences top of mind in order to retain skilled workers in this age range.

Defining Traits

  • Technologically-sophisticated
  • Dedicated
  • Confident
  • Tolerant
  • Impatient
  • Outspoken
  • Adaptable
  • Mission-driven

Tips for Working with Millennials

  • Convert paper-based training materials to a digital format
  • Consider implementing more flexible time-off policies (For example, offer comp time as an alternative to overtime.)
  • Offer opportunities for continuous self-improvement, skill building and growth
  • Facilitate an engaging, collaborative and fun work environment
  • Give employees a sense of purpose by emphasizing how your company is making a positive impact

Gen Xers

In the not-too-distant future, Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1984, will hold a majority of leadership roles in your company, if they don’t already. As this group of employees quickly moves into higher-level management and c-suite positions, companies can look at the generational characteristics to predict how the company will be run.

Defining Traits

  • Independent
  • Pragmatic
  • Tech-Savvy
  • Problem solvers
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Results-oriented
  • Hands-off managers

Tips for Working with Gen Xers

  • Give employees the autonomy and space to work independently if they choose
  • Facilitate a healthy work-life balance (For example, allow reasonable family and medical leave even if your company isn’t required to offer FMLA.)
  • Offer financial rewards (raises or bonuses) for a job well done
  • Give employees a sense of safety and security in both their role and work environment

Don’t Forget About Employee Safety!

No matter what generation you’re working with, employee safety should always be a top priority. Browse the U.S. Standard Products catalog for safety equipment to outfit your entire workforce. To stay up-to-date on the latest industrial workplace trends, follow U.S. Standard Products on social media.

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Resources

Future of Work

The Atlantic

USGS

The IRF

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