Many organizations are trying to manage a multigenerational workforce. Organizations have begun to shift their focus from the aging worker to issues related to a multigenerational workforce (Sprague, 2008). In fact, many workplaces now employ four different generations of workers (Hart, 2008). As a result, companies need to holistically evaluate their workforces, as each group requires a unique approach to such issues as recruitment, compensation, expectations, motivators, collaboration, learning styles and training. This article examines the differences between the generations and how understanding and appreciating them can help SH&E professionals improve communication and training.
Many Baby Boomers hoping to retire early lost that opportunity during the re-cent recession. Consequently, many will work until later in life to support their cur-rent lifestyles. The economic downturn also has affected Generation Xers who were hoping to move up as Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation retired. This leaves Generation Ys scrambling for whatever jobs remain (Elmore, 2010). These four generations of workers are now competing for and/or holding positions in the work-place, and may have to work with each other for as many as 10 more years (Elmore).
Rapid advances in technology and communication have only increased the challenges of managing today’s workforce. In addition, the once definitive rules about how younger workers treat older workers and superiors have changed, and the roles of the boss and younger workers are continually being rewritten (Matin & Tulgan, 2002).
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