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Generational Trends And Expectations For Work

Today’s workplace is unlike anything it’s ever been in the past. From technological advancements to flexible work schedules, managers have quite a lot to consider in addition to their regular duties. But did you ever stop to think about how many generations you have working in your office?

For the first time, any company can have five generations working under the same roof. This is actually quite remarkable. While it presents a lot of challenges thanks to the differences in life experiences, expectations, and ways of thinking, when approached the right way, it can also create plenty of opportunities.

What Are Generational Trends and Expectations For Work?

Five Generations of Workers Under One Roof

Traditionalists: born 1925 to 1945
Baby Boomers: born 1946 to 1964
Generation X: born 1965 to 1980
Millennials: born 1981 to 2000
Generation Z: born 2001 to 2020

Each generation may differ in traits, beliefs, and of course life experiences. This can affect how they work, communicate and even respond to changes in the office. As a manager, understanding these differences can help you lead a cohesive team.

A Glance at Each Generation & How You Can Lead Them Effectively


Key Traits: Dependable, straightforward, tactful, loyal
Motivated by: Respect, recognition, providing long-term value to the company
Communication Preference: Personal touch, handwritten notes instead of email

To connect with this generation, managers should provide satisfying work and opportunities to contribute. Traditionalists want to feel as though they are making a difference and important to the process. They value stability in their career and are loyal to a good and supportive employer.

Baby Boomer

Key Traits: Optimistic, competitive, workaholic, team-oriented
Motivated by: Company loyalty, teamwork, duty
Communication Preference: Whatever is most efficient, including phone calls and face to face

Baby boomers respond to specific goals and deadlines so they know what’s expected of them and how they can add the most meaningful value to the team. They thrive when a manager behaves like a coach instead of a bossy figure.

Generation X

Key Traits: Flexible, informal, skeptical, independent
Motivated by: Diversity, work-life balance, their personal-professional interests rather than the company’s interests
Communication Preference: Whatever is most efficient, including phone calls and face to face

This generation likes immediate feedback so their work can always be improving to meet the needs and expectations of the role. They appreciate when an employer offers the chance for professional development and they also prefer a flexible work environment that supports work-life balance and personal goals.


Key Traits: Competitive, civic-minded, open-minded on diversity, achievement-oriented
Motivated by: Responsibility, the quality of their manager, unique work experiences
Communication Preference: IMs, texts, and email

Millennials appreciate connection with their coworkers and managers, even if they prefer communication via technology. They appreciate receiving immediate feedback to improve their work in addition to flexible schedules – especially if their work meets the requirements.

Generation Z

Key Traits: Global, entrepreneurial, progressive, less focused
Motivated by: Diversity, personalization, individuality, creativity
Communication Preference: IMs, texts, social media

This generation wants a progressive company that trusts their abilities to get work done without relying on a team or even a manager’s input. While they may have a hard time focusing, they enjoy learning new things and getting them involved in a variety of projects can help motivate them.

What a Time to Be a Manager

While these traits and characteristics are reflective of the majority of each generation, there might be employees in each group that go against the grain. This insight might help you understand their viewpoints to better work with them so they can be successful and help lead the team to success as well.

Find the Right Employees for Your Team Goals

No matter what your team goals might be, when you contact Axiom Staffing Group, we can help you find the right employee for your open positions.