Small Business Tips

The successful generation on your team

Dayna Steele

From “OK Boomer” to “Damn Millennials” to “Dinosaurs” and other insults, you’ve probably heard one generation stereotype another negatively in the workforce often these days. In reality, every generation brings something unique to a successful team.  

So, what are the generations, and what do they bring to your success? For this, we reached out to generations expert and speaker Karen McCullough. I asked her to highlight reasons you should hire someone (or more) from each generation:

Gen Z: Born 1997 -2012

Generation Z began entering the workforce in 2017, and 11,000 new Gen Z enter the workforce every day. They have a unique perspective of the world and particular expectations of the workplace. Plus, they are outspoken, highly individualistic, work well alone, and competitive.

Gen Z are hard workers, motivated by money, and will work overtime. Quite often, they are very tech-savvy and fast learners who are highly comfortable using the internet as a tool for work and research, and for connecting with others. This generation grew up with Google in their back pocket, so they depend on technology to make most of their decisions.

Millennials: Born 1980-1996  

These workers are highly collaborative, looking for new ways to do things, and are responsible for many of the significant shifts in corporate culture. Millennials have changed our way of interacting with social media. They are highly social, both online and face to face.

Millennials love learning, love new ideas, focus on career development, and are SO tired of all the jokes about millennials. Altogether, Millennials have genuinely changed the world of work and the marketplace.  

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Gen Y: Born 1980-1989  

I like to call them “Xinnials” – people in their 30s AKA old Millennials. They have the work ethic of Gen X and the heart and soul and purpose-driven community-oriented style of Millennials. We called them Gen Y when they came on the scene, but the term Millennial came into play in the late 90s, and it stuck … the Millennial 2000.  

Gen X: Born 1965-1979  

This group is the smallest generation sandwiched in-between two of the most talked-about and studied generations. Gen X is sometimes called the middle child or the “Jan Brady Generation.” They are highly independent and highly focused with a strong work ethic.

Gen X has a fierce need for independence and flexibility, but they are also impatient. They are straightforward and often have to learn to soften their style to lead others.

Gen X is the last generation to ride bikes all over town and stay out until the streetlights came on. They took that independence with them into the workplace. At the same time, Gen X opened the world to the concept of sharing—creating mixtapes and sharing those with friends—hence how we get our music and media today through sharing.

Gen X is the most creative of all generations and the most ignored!

Boomers: Born 1946-1964

This generation was born into a celebration, a time after the war, when the country was optimistic and hopeful. Boomers are the most competitive and driven of all the generations. They are also the generation that has had to learn to change the most.

The wisest Boomers are curious about the younger generations and new technologies. Boomers are the most open to change.  

They call me the Millennial Evangelist because I see the future, and I want to be a part of it. Stay open, stay curious, and be kind to each other.

– Karen McCullough, Millennial Evangelist

On the whole, instead of highlighting the problems, look for the reasons you should hire across the generations. You’ll be more successful together and create a great team!

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