open for business updates


We won't send a ton of junk, just the good stuff.

Understanding generational differences in the workforce

Currently, we have five different generations active in the workforce. Each generation has different expectations when it comes to work habits. A generation is defined by a group of people that are in the same age range that were raised in about the same area geographically and experience the same life events. Parenting styles also play a part in generational traits. Generations can be divided into the following categories, birth years and traits:

Matures, 1900-1945 (The Silent Generation) They were influenced by the Great Depression, WWII and Communism. Due to the strength of the military, this generation rose in the workplace in the command-style management that made them respect authority based on hierarchy and protocol. They are practical, have a dedicated work ethic and show authority a great deal of respect. They believe in self-sacrifice and they are very conscious of money and value each penny earned.

Baby Boomers, 1946-1964 They experienced the opposite of the Matures as they grew up with unlimited opportunity. Television was a cultural experience, as was the Vietnam War, the needs of children and women, the Sexual Revolution and the Civil Rights movement.  With population density the Boomers were forced to compete in the workplace, which made them work very hard. They are optimistic, and driven to do good work. They felt that what you do in your work defines who you are in life. They also treated money in a different way than their parents by spending more on non-essential things like recreational items.

Generation X, 1965-1980 (Latchkey Kids)

This group experienced global economic erosion and saw how their parents' jobs were restructured. This led to social problems such as higher divorce rates, rising crime and unwed births. They were introduced to the personal computer and saw the fall of the Soviet Empire. The Gen-Xers grew up self-sufficient with both parents working. They learned not to trust societal promises and that nothing is permanent. Gen X has a skeptical outlook. They consider themselves free agents that don't respond well to micromanaging. They expect to be getting what they work for and want to be entitled to rights and privileges that they earn. This generation works for their lifestyle and have high expectations of those in leadership roles.

Generation Y, 1981-1994 (Millennials) This is the first generation that has been celebrated by their parents and extended family. They were raised by parents who over compensated their own broken childhoods by continuous praises and awards. They feel they are greatly appreciated by everyone. Gen Y was raised in a technological era where cell phones, the Internet and instant communication all emerged.  They were impacted by 9/11 and the wars in the Middle East. They are confident, but not great problem-solvers. They don’t differentiate work and life as they feel their work should reflect their lifestyle. This group is greatly influenced by their peers and have the perception that everyone should be treated fairly. They do not value money, as it has been something that they come by from their parents or by chance.

Generation M, 1995-2005 (Multi-Tasking/Linksters) This group is just entering the workforce. They are mentally able to balance conversations and stimulations that are happening simultaneously. They are able to follow examples that they are shown. This generation does not respond well to criticism. They have been told that anything is possible and that they are not at fault when things go wrong. They are used to being a part of a team and they are involved with highly-scheduled activities. They do not think outside of the box very well and tend to struggle with how to handle free time. Their culture has taught them to crave attention and to be comfortable sharing private information about themselves. They have been impacted by social media and always having an electronic connection in some way and often more than one.

Finding generational harmony

In order to build a cohesive team in your business it is helpful to consider the generation that your employees fit into. Research shows that Boomers and Matures feel younger than their actual age. The younger generations do not share this feeling and often perceive or treat the Boomers and Matures older than they feel, often causing a great deal of animosity when it comes to working together.

Everyone must consider the different values and expectations. A Mature or Boomer will be respectful of the fact that you need to double-check to be sure that you are authorized to complete something. They have a respect for authority and find value in hierarchy-structured management. They are also more cautious and believe in doing things the right way first. A Gen X employee might be bothered by this and feel that a Mature or Boomer lacks leadership and decisiveness. Gen X questions those in charge and has learned to doubt leadership because of the failure they have experienced in the economy and government.

About the Author

Open for Business, Central Nebraska
The Open for Business Staff strives to create the most useful content possible for businesses. Whether it's tips and tools available for owners to work smarter, not harder, a feature story highlighting amazing things happening with a Central Nebraska business or a fun tip here and there, you will find something that helps your business thrive at 


Tell A Friend

Tell a Friend



Check out this article from Open for Business Magazine!
Captcha Image

Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Form received.

Captcha Image

Bridging the Generation Gap25-Jul-2017

Understanding generational differences in the workforce Currently, we have five different generations active in the workforce. Each g..

Find Success Connecting With Business01-Dec-2015

United Way finds success through partnership Lisa Parish – United Way of Kearney Lisa Reese Parish has served as the Executiv..

Circle of Trust14-Oct-2015

Foundation of a successful partnership Many business forms or structures exist, one of which is a business partnership – wi..

Not Just For Kids22-Jul-2015

Public library offers valuable resources for business owners When most folks think of the public library, they think sto..

The Great Talent Search22-Jul-2015

Keeping talent in Central Nebraska According to a 2014 Gallup study¬≠, millennials— people who are 30 years old an..

How to Form an Association03-Jun-2015

Come together... right now People come together for many reasons including similar hobbies, sports, cultural celebrations, communi..

Think Big, Shop Small21-May-2015

Placemaking 101 I love strolling through a vibrant and distinct shopping district— perusing the shops and finding gems to take ho..

Nebraska, a Place for Opportunity24-Mar-2015

Resources for budding (and established) farm businesses Nebraska is well-known for its broad fields and herds of livestock, but it's also..

AFAN Empowers Livestock Producers11-Mar-2015

One FAN-tastic ag program Agriculture is a pillar of Nebraska’s economy. That pillar has been maintained by generations of livestoc..

Initiative 425: What's Your Wager?03-Feb-2015

Wage increase brings varying opinions Effective January 1, Nebraska’s minimum wage increased to $8.00 per hour. Accord..

State Grants Fund Training27-Jan-2015

Use or lose funding opportunity Last year, the State of Nebraska awarded training grants to Nebraska organizations in the amount of $1,3..

Who You Know02-Dec-2014

Creating your network We have all tested that theory of six degrees of separation— we know a person who knows a person who knows a pe..

Great Expectations19-Nov-2014

It's all in the follow-up When dealing with business to business (B2B) interactions, expectations are often set after the first tran..

Nebraska Attorney General19-Nov-2014

Fighting the "nice" fight SOURCE: NEBRASKA ATTORNEY GENERAL ( The Attorney..

Pitch Perfect15-Oct-2014

Being your best marketing tool What is the biggest and best marketing tool in your business? YOU! What you say about your business a..

Eight Seconds to Active Engagement08-Oct-2014

Make a mark with your marketing message Even if you create a product that is positively revolutionary, it will never amount to mu..

Finding Qualified Candidates for a Business29-Jul-2014

Creating connections with future employees In Nebraska, we are very lucky to have a low unemployment rate, but this can cause i..

InternNE Offers Co-Investment Opportunities23-Jul-2014

Program creates a channel to talent Searching for a quality internship to support your collegiate studies? Interested in offering in..

Leading the Strongest Team16-Jul-2014

Why It Matters We all have an idea of what teamwork is, but with a diverse group of people and personalities, how do you achiev..

One Man's Trash11-Jul-2014

One Man's Trash is the City of Kearney’s Treasure Imagine 175 semi-trucks lined up and full of trash, or at least what most people..

Nebraska Embracing Business as a Force for Good01-May-2014

WasteCap Nebraska, B Labs provide Benefit Impact Assessment Does this sound familiar? A Hastings soap company (/stories/social-mission-co..

The Best Grant For Your Business18-Mar-2014

Narrowing down grant eligibility in your field ( Internships or training, innovation or expans..

If You Build It They Will Come21-Jan-2014

Making sure a business foundation is solid As I sat in a meeting the other day with an exciting local startup, I was reminded of the import..

Our Partners:

¬© 2015 Open for Business Magazine, LLC  All rights reserved