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What do Builders, Boomers, MTV, Snowflakes and Tech Natives all have in Common?


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If you want to win and outflank your competitors and make sure you survive through these crazy times then you need to keep reading.

I need to bring to your attention the importance of age and perspective diversity, as leaders we face challenging situations with five generations in the workforce.

ALL at the same time, never before in human history have we had this dynamic, and each generation has widely different upbringings and perspectives on life.

Is it any surprise that the 20-year-old struggles to relate to the Sixty Two year war veteran? The by-product of this is when we don’t understand or unable to relate to we often discriminate against or just disregard it.

I am fully aware you cannot stereotype entire generations of people and there will always be exceptions to the rules.

Each generation is attracted by different factors and you as a business need to know here is a quick overview of each one.

As I walk you through each of these generations I want you to bring someone into mind who is of that generation.

Create a mental picture of them and start describing their world views, age, core values, beliefs, attributes, behaviours, work ethic, and communication styles.

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝘂𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗔𝗹𝘀𝗼 𝗞𝗻𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗔𝘀 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗶𝗹𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 (𝟭𝟵𝟮𝟴 𝘁𝗼 𝟭𝟵𝟰𝟱)

While people born between 1928 and 1945 are now mostly out of the global workforce, they paved the way to new technologies that we see today, including cars and air travel. They also suffered through events like the Great Depression and great wars, such as World War II.

The Silent Generation flourish in working environments that observe top-down management styles with a chain of command.

They have recently been forced to use technology and start spending online.

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗮𝗯𝘆 𝗕𝗼𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗿𝘀 (𝟭𝟵𝟰𝟲 𝘁𝗼 𝟭𝟵𝟲𝟰)

Apparently, the builders were so excited that the war was over and they celebrated which resulted in a whole lot of new babies being born, hence the name.

The Baby Boomers witnessed extraordinary events in world history, including the first moon landing thanks to Television. They participated or witnessed things like the Vietnam War, The civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, drugs and rock and roll and many other key events.

People born in this era are optimistic and structured learners and typically still hold most of the powerful positions in the world and in most societies hold the most wealth than other economic groups.

Today, 70 per cent of the total net worth and 80 per cent of all savings are in the hands of boomers.

Baby Boomers thrive in workplaces with flat structures, democratic cultures, and equal opportunities for all employees.

𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗫 / 𝗠𝗧𝗩 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗣𝗖 𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 (𝟭𝟵𝟲𝟱 𝘁𝗼 𝟭𝟵𝟴𝟬)

Generation X experienced the crash of the stock market and the fall of the Berlin Wall. These events helped people of this generation become independent and wary of the values passed down by Baby Boomers.

Gen Xers are naturally sceptical. They are suspicious that both boomers and millennials, came of age when divorce rates skyrocketed.

They experienced massive company layoffs, the aids epidemic was rampant, and they survived the 80’s. Often referenced as the MTV Generation as they were the first to experience music videos, heavy metal, punk, hip hop and artists like U2, Nirvana.

This generation was the first to touch and use personal computers at scale. They value workplaces that are positive, fun, and informal.

Something to keep in mind they remember learning and being at school without computers and typically was introduced to them while in high school.

They also witnessed first hand working parents becoming so burnt out and trying to keep up which fuels a lot of Gen X Entrepreneurs today. In fact, GenXers make up the highest percentage of startup founders at 55%

Gen Xers can be motivated by flexible schedules, benefits like virtual work environments, recognition from the leader, bonuses, stock and other monetary rewards.

𝗚𝗲𝗻 𝗬 / 𝗠𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗮𝗹𝘀 / 𝗦𝗻𝗼𝘄𝗳𝗹𝗮𝗸𝗲𝘀 (𝟭𝟵𝟴𝟭 𝘁𝗼 𝟭𝟵𝟵𝟲)

I would now like to dive into the widely discussed and mostly misunderstood generation…Gen Y

This generation has been called by many names including Peter Pan or Boomerang Generation because they often move back in with their parents.

Gen Y makes up 1 in every 3 people in the workforce today, if you are wanting to speak to this generation you need to stop trying to change them and speak on their terms or you will lose them.

They hold the most power when it comes to shaping our economy and the future of commerce, and they know this.

As children, most Gen Y’s grew up with parents that we’re divorced, and most of this generation was about 20 years of age when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened that shook the world. This had a massive impact as they understood the historical significance of that moment and what happened next.

Demographically, millennials are more ethnically diverse than all previous generations.

In general, they are regarded as being more open-minded and more supportive of equal rights as a whole for humanity. Including the LGBTQ community, ethnic minorities and women; specifically women in business and the workforce.

They are confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and new ways of living.

Many do suffer from the Justin Bieber effect as they believe they should be famous.

In 2020 it was estimated that Gen Y’s spending was over $2.5 Trillion, they are fast outspending all other generations in most sectors already.

Millennials were born when the internet and social media was emerging. People of this generation are tech-savvy and interactive learners.

Millennials place a high value in collaborative, achievement-oriented, diverse workplaces and brands that focus on their employees’ growth.

𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗭 / 𝗧𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗼𝗴𝘆 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲𝘀 (𝟭𝟵𝟵𝟳 𝘁𝗼 𝟮𝟬𝟭𝟮)

This generation now makes up one-quarter of the population and are starting to enter the workforce.

These young adults today have experienced massive cultural and political change. Many grew up through the last global financial crisis.

Compared to Gen Y, members of Generation Z prefer multi-model and virtual learning over traditional settings.

The biggest difference between Gen Z and Gen Y has to do with technology. Gen Y grew up having to drive to Blockbuster and using DVD players. They had giant personal computers, mobile phones with tiny screens and possibly still dial-up internet.

At the time, these technologies were ground-breaking. However, most of Gen Z were using iPads and smartphones as babies. Streaming movies, music and connecting to Wi-Fi is natural, also growing up using techs like Alexa and Siri at their beck and call.

They are spending 5.9 hours per day consuming content there phone, receive more than 4000 text messages a month, watch two times as many videos on their phone and consume less TV content than any other generation.

Often referred to as Technology Natives they have witnessed events online like the emergence of WikiLeaks.

Research shows that Gen Z deals with far more body image, mental health and cyberbullying issues than any other age group that has been in existence in the past.

This generation also has a measured attention span of eight seconds. A goldfish has nine, and 11 per cent have been diagnosed with ADHD.

What’s interesting is that 53% prefer face to face communication to talking over the phone. However, they prefer to make initial enquiries to business over messenger or email.

60% believe they are the ones to fix the world that was messed up by their elders. This compared to only 39% of millennials.

Fashionable design matters more to them than any other generation. Their belief is that they join a brand and become the brand rather than just wear one.

Generation Z employees are motivated by security, competition, independence, and communication.

They are also motivated by social rewards, mentorship and constant and instant feedback. But you’ve got to keep it short.

This generation is also far more pragmatic, practical and determined. They are hard-working and money motivated. They know what they want and they’re not afraid of going after it.


Now I know I have just given you a whole lot of information and data to consume, I wanted to provide enough key information on how you as a business leader can change your communication styles and messaging to speak directly to each one.

The key here is that today it’s easier to reach people anywhere in the world and it’s more important than ever that you speak to the right person, with the right message, at the right time.

As an exercise, why don’t you try organising a 20-minute interview with each generation and ask questions to find out more about who they are and what drives them?

This way you will not only consume the information you get to experience it as well!

If you have any questions regarding this or would like to share your experiences please comment below or DM me.