In many companies today up to four generations work together. Thanks to the ever-younger retirement age, this will not change that soon. Looking at different generations and their imprints opens up interesting perspectives on how to look at business collaboration, sensitize employees to differences, foster mutual understanding and create positive relationships.
4 generations in a team
In general, we speak of
- Generation Baby Boomers (born 1950 – 1964)
- Generation X (born 1965 – 1979)
- Generation Y (born 1980 – 1994)
- Generation Z (born 1995 – 2009)
In Sociology the term „generation“ refers to an age cohort (ie people of similar birth cohorts) that has experienced formative historical events (key events) in the same period of life. Experiences during the youth are classified as particularly formative. (See, for example, Karl Mannheim, William Strauss, Neil Howe)
This is how generation-specific views, values, attitudes or convictions emerge, which in turn find their expression in typical behaviors or action preferences.
For example, for the postwar or Cold War generation of Baby Boomers, the value of „safety“ is generally more important than for Generation Y, whose youth was influenced by the end of the East-West conflict, the fall of the Wall and the introduction of the Euro. This generation is said to have a greater need for „freedom“, which manifests itself in the work context, for example, by the requirement for flexibility in terms of working hours or place of work. Baby Boomers tend to value permanent contracts.
Developing intergenerational teams
Different experiences and perspectives offer many potentials – and unfortunately also lead to tensions. Often the elderly feel disconnected when it comes to dealing with new media. They do not feel they can bring in their experience or receive the necessary appreciation for their performance and achievements. Conversely, the younger generation feels pressed into rigid structures and processes that lack the opportunity for development and growth.
A tailor-made team development promotes understanding and appreciation for the other generation. In doing so, potential for constructive cooperation is revealed. And above all, the team has fun and grows together.