Written by Jim McBride
Steven Long – Executive Leadership, Retail Management, Higher Education, Pastor
Historically, there were just three; but now there are five generations in today’s workforce. You’ve likely heard of Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials. But, Gen Z and Traditionalists? Whether younger and inexperienced or mature and well-seasoned, understanding how to navigate the multi-generational workforce is an important strategy for everyone in career transition, according to keynote speaker, Steven Long.
The multi-generation workforce is here to stay so the basic understanding of preferences, communication styles, assets and liabilities can alleviate the potential anxieties between generations and ultimately serve you as a job seeker when immersed within the interviewing process.
It’s no surprise the differences between the five generations can be dramatic. First, some context:
- Traditionalists/Vets – born before 1945; 2% of today’s workforce
- Baby Boomers – born between 1946 – 1964; 25% of the workforce (shrinking)
- Gen X – born between 1965 – 1980; 33% of the workforce
- Millennials – born between 1981 – 1997; 35% of the workforce (growing)
- Gen Z – born after 1998; 5% of the workforce
As the job seeker, your navigation of the multi-generation workforce can be a competitive advantage. Rather than wonder if you’re too old, too young or perhaps thinking you’re over/under qualified – be willing to learn the generational assets – and put your focus on what you can deliver to the employer. As well, be familiar with the generational liabilities, as interviewers will likely probe your answers to their veiled generational questions to see how you react.
Generational Assets (general tendencies)
- Traditionalists/Vets – experience, dedication, loyalty, emotional maturity
- Boomers – service oriented, dedicated, team perspective
- Gen X – adaptive, techno-literate, independence, collaborative
- Millennials – collective, optimistic, multi-task, techno-savvy
- Gen Z – idea-driven, passionate, energetic (change the world)
Generational Liabilities (general tendencies)
- Traditionalists/Vets – reluctant to question systems, conflict resolution, change
- Boomers – not budget minded, uncomfortable with conflict, lack in tech
- Gen X – skeptical of organization, distrust of authority, conflict inducer
- Millennials – need structure, inexperience, too many ideas or tech
- Gen Z – lack experience altogether, more passionate than pragmatic
Nearly every organization on the planet has challenges with effective communication. The multi-generational workforce and the preferences behind each generation can muddy-up even the most purposefully orchestrated communication strategy. Traditionalists/Vets prefer a top-down communication approach, while Boomers tend to be guarded about change and will ask why. The Gen X prefers the hub-and-spoke informational approach. The Millennials crave collaborative idea-sharing communication while the Gen Z are electro-social and highly connected.
When it comes down to interviewing, your focus is on what you bring to the table: competency, character, chemistry, coach-ability, compatibility. Embrace your own generational strengths. Never stop learning and adapting and really think about how to best communicate with other generations.
So, hey, “get woke” when it comes to your intentional learning and don’t “throw shade” on communicating in unique generational language! Not because that’s how you’ll converse with a hiring manager during an interview, but because it demonstrates your superb and authentic self-awareness of the multi-generational workforce.
If you’re 19 and just beginning your journey. If you’re 69 and looking to take a career victory lap. If you’re somewhere in between (like most of us), you are now empowered to utilize your age as an asset in finding the next great career adventure.
Gay Meyer – Assistant VP of HR Operations
Mission – the mission of the association is to facilitate the financial security of its members, associates and their families through provision of a full range of highly competitive financial products and services; in so doing, USAA seeks to be the provider of choice for the military community.
• Hiring 900 local employees annually; North Phoenix campus
• 5000 on-site employees at the local campus; plus 1100 work from home
• Planning for robust IT growth in the next three years (1000+)
• Employee retention rate – 96%
• 8% 401k match
• Performance-based bonuses
• 12 weeks maternity/paternity leave
• Education assistance (available day 1)
Looking for caring, passionate, approachable, authentic, dynamic, intuitive, and empathetic individuals. You’re encouraged to apply for as many open positions as you wish.
Customer Service and Sales
Insurance – Claims
IT Software developers
RESOURCES AND CLOSING
Ron Mack – Community Awareness Partner
Mission – Through the goodwill of others, we create the pathway to a better future for all by helping those who desire self-sufficiency.
The Goodwill Career Centers offer free career coaching, assistance with resumes, mock interviewing, employment support and digital skills training. They specialize in providing on-going support for the professional job seeker. Goodwill delivers community awareness of local employment events through onsite career centers and through the recent launch of mycareeradvisor.com (live chat available). The services are free of charge and available to all.
Jessica Pierce thanked the many partners and volunteers for their contributions to this event. Job seekers were encouraged to utilize the many transition resources – professional resume writers, career coaches, LinkedIn coaches, the DISC assessment. Next up on the calendar of events: Interview Panel Workshop (with 10 career coaches) on Tuesday July 23rd in Gilbert. Stay tuned for weekly emails and LinkedIn posts.