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Myths about the Multi-Generational Workforce

Tuesday March 20, 2018


Posted on: Tuesday March 20, 2018

Is Your Staff Engagement Policy Based on Fact or Fiction?

According to a recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value, Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are not as different as you may think. It also turns out that Generation Z, the new kids on the block, have also been given a lot of unnecessary bad press. 

So, what is the truth about our current multi-generational workforce? Well, we can help you with that. The microcosm that is the marketing team here at Personal Group is a perfect illustration to help debunk some of these generational myths.


Myth: Baby Boomers can’t deal with new technology. 

While Boomers may not be tech natives like Generation Z, or even as tech savvy as Millennials, they are catching up. In fact, baby boomers are the fastest growing demographic on social media, with the numbers using twitter and Facebook steadily rising. Older workers are eager to learn new skills, and research suggests that they may actually have superior study habits and make mistakes less frequently than younger learners. 

Just pause for a moment and think about how much technology you actually use for your day to day job (if you work in IT, then sorry, you’re not included in this thought experiment). The likelihood is, apart from a few core systems like email and Microsoft Word, there isn’t much technological know how needed anyway. So not only is this myth un-true, its almost irrelevant. 

Gen X

Myth: Generation X are slacker rebels. 

Although many members of Generation X may wish they were slackers, most of them never really had the choice to be one. Generation X are excellent when it comes to knowing how to focus and what to focus on, due to having to make their own way very early in life, with little help from parents (or society).

It’s time to move on from the view of Gen X as hippy layabouts, and see that yes, maybe they do spend less time in the office, but have you considered that perhaps they’re just getting things done faster?


Myth: Millennials are addicted to technology and can’t interact face-to-face.

Are millennials permanently attached to their phones? Honestly, that seems like a little bit of a stretch. Today’s phones have more memory and functional flexibility than the first laptops. Would we criticise boomers for spending too much time at work on their laptops? 

This myth isn’t just impractical to say the least, it has also been proven factually incorrect. It turns out that Millennials much prefer to speak to people in person, especially in the workplace. That’s right- face to face. Not Snapchat, Whatsapp or Twitter, just old-fashioned tech free face to face. Although millennials do spend much of their free time on social media and instant messaging, they find it much easier to communicate about important matters via the medium of speech. 

Gen Z

Myth: Gen Z demand new/trendy office environments.

Honestly, young people are actually after far more substantial perks than just a coffee bar or ping pong table (although, personally I wouldn’t say no to both of the above, and I am Gen Z). We’re looking for increased flexibility, the ability to work hours that suit them and from a place that breeds productivity. We look for quality in-person communication, and good inter-office relationships (Randstad, 2016). 

Employers need to stop thinking about quirky benefits, Generation Z are just as corporate as the generations before. It is important to stop viewing Gen Z’s as children who need to be constantly entertained and start utilising the benefits of their fresh outlooks and let them inspire fresh ways of thinking within your organisation.

So What Next?

Have you been working from faulty misconceptions when it comes to keeping your staff motivated? Do you need to figure out how to engage your workforce in the right way?

Find out how to zero in on Gen Z here.

Or check out our benefits audit checklist here to figure out how to update your benefits to better suit the needs of your multi-generational workforce.  

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