Hi everyone. I heard a few facts that got me thinking. We’re now at a point where there are more wireless devices in the United States (335 million) than there are people. Millennials watch TV with two or more electronic devices. And the new wave of technology is wearable computing. So maybe someday we’ll have employees wearing their own work equipment. As the experts tell us, technological savvy is one area where the generations often differ.
We can all gain some insight into how employees of different generations tend to have different work styles, expectations and motivations. In our workplace, we have Traditionalists (1922-1945), Boomers (1946-1964), Gen X (1965-1979), and Millennials (1980-2000). Now, we’re hearing about the up and coming Gen Z.
Here are just a few things that generational mix experts tell us. Traditionalists typically believe in organizational hierarchy, and they see it as a duty to mentor others. Boomers are competitive -- perks, position and title are often important. Millennials are the most technologically savvy and they seek mentorship. Gen X’ers prefer to be independent problem solvers, are intent on achieving work-life balance and more interested in results over process. Many millennials might only stick around for a few years, compared to Boomers who are more likely to spend a large portion of their career here. We also have “cuspers,” who straddle two generations and take on qualities of both.
One key thing to remember is that these are generalizations. They’re not true of everyone. But they can sometimes give us a better sense of where our co-workers are coming from. The more insight we have into the work styles of our co-workers, and how generational differences shape those work styles, the more we can apply this insight to build trust and respect with each other, resolve conflicts, and connect and collaborate better.
I’m reminded of something that Terry Biggio recently wrote about – Relationships Matter. By building relationships in the workplace, we can create a more successful and satisfying work environment. Because we’re all committed to the same goal – accomplishing the FAA’s mission and strategic initiatives.
So let’s learn more about generational mixes in the workplace from books, or Ted Talks like this one: “Closing the gap - A millennial proposal for a happy multi-generational workplace.” These insights will serve us as we recruit and develop our Workforce of the Future.
In closing, I want to remind you that the May 31 deadline for the NAS First, People Always award nominations is fast approaching. Please consider nominating a co-worker, team or facility that you think is deserving of an award. You can use this automated form.
Teri L. Bristol
ATO Chief Operating Officer