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Bridging the Generation Gap in the Workplace: Some Tips and Ideas

October 20, 2016 // Sonya Jackson // No Comments »

Today’s workplace, consists of Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers and even some folks from older generations. Each of these groups brings unique sets of attitudes, values and work styles to an organization.

While each person is unique, social scientists have identified some characteristics common among different groups born about the same time:

Pre-Baby Boomers have a lot of knowledge that can be tapped into, if one would take the time to listen.  Many of this group are on their second or third career and have a vast amount of life experiences to appreciate.  These days, we don’t ask ages, and being in the 70’s today is not the same as it was years ago. However, many people over 70 expected to be retired by now, but for the economic downturn, and the worry about outliving their retirement and social security, they are unable to retire. Even so, they bring a lot to the workplace including discipline, respectful of authority and a more traditional way of working.

Baby Boomers consist of the largest group of workers, at least for the time. Although they may not be as quick with technology as other generations, they are known for being hard-working, competitive and flexible. Similar to those born prior to them, they bring with them a wealth of life experiences that would benefit co-workers to tap into.

Generation X group are known for the traits of independent, entrepreneurial, and are typically self-reliant.  They have grown to be an independent group because some of their parents lost their jobs in the 1980s, and this group saw the effects of this.  They are considered the latchkey generation since they grew up when both parents were in the workforce.  This may have caused them to become self-reliant.

Millennials have the characteristics as technology savvy, creative and great at multi-tasking. Some say that is the first generation to fully accept diversity. Many Millennials prefer to text or email, rather than to call or meet face-to-face.

Ways to Manage the Generations

Although people are individuals, their generation makes a big impact on the way they think, communicate, and what they expect from others.  Here are some general ideas for each generation:


  • They believe no need to fix something that is not broken
  • Appreciates being asked for suggestions or advice
  • Listen to them
  • Expects to work hard for a day’s wages


Baby Boomers

  • Help them with technology and educational support if they are out of their comfort zone
  • Be flexible with them
  • Remember they are competitive


Generation X

  • Set deadlines
  • Give constant feedback
  • Allow them to manage their own time as much as possible



  • Be flexible. This group enjoys their free time
  • Respect their ideas
  • Provide opportunities for a mentor relationship
  • Encourage sharing ideas with co-workers


Success entails working out of your comfort zone. Different generations must learn to work together and to value others contributions to succeed. Learning from other generations can lead to opportunities to deepen your knowledge, improve skillset and enhance your long term success. Don’t miss these opportunities!

This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances.  This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. sanchez nieto.


About the Author

Sonya Jackson is a legal assistant in the Dallas office of The R. Shawn McBride Law Firm, PLLC. Sonya can be contacted at

Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. He is a frequent speaker at events and speaks to audiences on the 3 Laws of Empowerment – how you can prepare, plan and protect your business. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at or (214) 418-0258.


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