By: Kristin Clements-Effner, MSW Cofounder/Training Coordinator
The past couple of weeks we have visited our Generation Y and X workers in the office. This week we are traveling to the corner office to learn about Baby Boomers in the workplace. Chances are the Baby Boomers in the office are supervisors and management, but that is not always the case.
Baby Boomer workers are often the first one’s in the office and the last one’s to leave. It is not uncommon for them to have worked for the organization their whole career or have worked there for a significant amount of time because loyalty to your employer is highly valued. This loyalty and experience in the workforce should be valued, as Baby Boomers have many skills and historical knowledge to contribute to a team. However, this is not often respected by younger workers and can be viewed as being resistant to change or not seeing new ways of doing things.
Baby Boomers have worked hard to get where they are and want to be respected by all workers as leaders. Due to the hours they have put in at the office away from family and personal interests, Baby Boomers have a hard time accepting the younger workers desire for advancement without putting in the time and the high value placed on work/life balance. However, Baby Boomers are increasingly desiring options in the workplace due to changes in lifestyle, such as caring for elderly parents.
Some younger workers have expressed frustration with Baby Boomers; however, if this generation is discounted and not respected for the experience and knowledge they bring to the workplace we are missing out on mentorship opportunities. Workplace teams should strive to engage all workers, including reengaging Baby Boomers to use their experience to come up with creative ways to address the challenges we are facing in 2011 and mentor upcoming leaders within the organization.