U.S. History Boomers to Millennials

U.S. History Boomers to Millennials

Generational Differences Chart


Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials Birth Years 1900-1945 1946-1964 1965-1980 (1977-1994)


1981-2000 Current Age 63-86 44-62 28-43 8-27


Famous People


Bob Dole, Elizabeth Taylor Bill Clinton, Meryl Streep Barak Obama, Jennifer Lopez Ashton Kutcher, Serena Williams


# 80 Million 51 Million 75 Million


Other Names Veterans, Silent, Moral Authority,


Radio Babies, The Forgotten Generation


“Me” Generation, Moral Authority Gen X, Xers, The Doer, Post Boomers, 13th Generation


Generation Y, Gen Y, Generation Next, Echo Boomers, Chief Friendship Officers.






WWII, Korean War, Great Depression, New Deal, Rise on Corporations, Space Age, Raised by parents that just survived the Great Depression. Experienced hard times while growing up which were followed by times of prosperity.


Civil Rights, Vietnam War, Sexual Revolution, Cold War/Russia, Space Travel Highest divorce rate and 2nd marriages in history. Post War Babies who grew up to be radicals of the 70’s and yuppies of the 80’s. “The American Dream” was promised to them as children and they pursue it. As a result they are seen as being greedy, materialistic and ambitious.


Watergate, Energy Crisis, Dual Income families and single parents, First Generation of Latchkey Kids, Y2K, Energy Crisis, Activism, Corp. Downsizing, End of Cold War, Mom’s work, Increase divorce rate. Their perceptions are shaped by growing up having to take care of themselves early and watching their politicians lie and their parents get laid off. Came of age when USA was losing its status as the most powerful and prosperous nation in the world. The first generation that will NOT do as well financially as their parents did.


Digital Media, child focused world, school shootings, terrorist attacks, AIDS, 9/11 terrorist attacks. Typically grew up as children of divorce They hope to be the next great generation & to turn around all the “wrong” they see in the world today. They grew up more sheltered than any other generation as parents strived to protect them from the evils of the world. Came of age in a period of economic expansion. Kept busy as kids First generation of children with schedules.


Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials


Core Values


Adhere to rules Conformers/Conformity Contributing to the Collective good is important Dedication/Sacrifice Delayed Reward Discipline Don’t question authority Duty before pleasure Family Focus “Giving Back” is important Hard Work Law and Order Loyalty Patriotism Patience Respect for authority Responsibility Savers Stabilizing Trust in Government


Anti war Anti government Anything is possible Equal rights Equal opportunities Extremely loyal to their children Involvement Optimism Personal Gratification Personal Growth Question Everything Spend now, worry later Team Oriented Transformational Trust no one over 30 Youth Work Want to “make a difference”


Balance Diversity Entrepreneurial Fun Highly Educated High job expectations Independent Informality Lack of organizational loyalty Pragmatism Seek life balance Self-reliance Skepticism/Cynical Suspicious of Boomer values ThinkGlobally Techno literacy


Achievement Avid consumers Civic Duty Confidence Diversity Extreme fun Fun! High morals Highly tolerant Hotly competitive Like personal attention Self confident Socialability Members of global community Most educated generation Extremely techno savvy Extremely spiritual Now! Optimism Realism Street smarts


Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials




Committed to company Competent Confident Conservative Dedication Doing more with less Ethical Fiscally prudent Hard-working Historical viewpoint Honor Linear work style Loyal to organization/employers (duty, honor, country) Organized Patriotic Respectful of Authority Rules of conduct Sacrifice Strong work ethic Task oriented Thrifty-abhor waste Trust hierarchy and authority


Ability to handle a crisis Ambitious Anti-extablishmentism Challenge Authority Competent Competitive Consensus Leadership Consumerism Ethical Good communication skills Idealism Live to work Loyal to careers and employers Most educated as compared to other 3 generations Multi-taskers Rebellious against convention beginning with their conservative parents. Traditionally found their worth in their work ethic but now seek a healthy life/work balance Optimistic Political correctness Strong work ethic Willing to take on responsibility


Adaptable Angry but don’t know why Antiestablishment mentality Big Gap with boomers Can change Crave independence Confident Competent Ethical Flexible Focus on Results Free agents Highest number of divorced parents High degree of brand loyalty Ignore leadership Independent Loyal to Manager Pampered by their parents Pragmatic Results driven Self-starters Self sufficient Skeptical of institutions Strong sense of entitlement Unimpressed with Authority Willing to take on responsibility Willing to put in the extra time to get a job done Work/Life Balance Work to live


Ambitious but not entirely focused. Look to the workplace for direction and to help them achieve their goals. At ease in teams Attached to their gadgets & parents Best educated – Confident Diversity Focused – Multiculturalism Have not lived without computers Eager to spend money Fiercely Independent Focus is children/family Focus on change using technology Friendly Scheduled, structured lives Globalism (Global way of thinking) Greatly indulged by fun loving parents Heroism -Consider parents their heroes High speed stimulus junkies Incorporate individual resp. into their jobs. Innovative-think our of box Individualistic yet group oriented Invited as children to play a lead role in family’s purchasing and travel decisions Loyal to peers Sociable -Makes workplace friends “Me First “ Attitude in work life Most doted upon of any generation@work Net-centric team players Open to new ideas Optimistic Parent Advocacy (Parents are advocates) Political Savvy (like the Boomers) Respect given for competency not title Respectful of character development Self –absorbed Strong sense of entitlement Techno Savvy – Digital generation Think mature generation is “cool” Want to please others Hope to make life contributions to world Very patriotic (shaped by 9/11) Seek responsibility early on in their roles


Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials


Family Experience


Traditional Nuclear


Disintegrating “Cleaver Family” Mom stayed home As children were seen as “special”


Latch-key kids Women widely expected to work outside the home The first “day care” generation Dual Income families


Merged families Coddled kids (they got a trophy for coming in 8th place)


Education A dream A birthright A way to get there An incredible expense Value Family/Community Success Time Individuality


Dealing With Money


Put it away Pay cash Save, save, save


Buy now, pay later Cautious Conservative Save, save, save


Earn to spend


% of Workplace


%5 45% 40% 10%


Work Ethic


Dedicated Pay your dues Work hard Respect Authority Hard work Age=seniority Company first


Driven Workaholic-60 hr work weeks Work long hours to establish self- worth and identity and fulfillment Work ethic = worth ethic Quality


Balance Work smarter and with greater output, not work longer hours. Eliminate the task Self-reliant Want structure & direction Skeptical


Ambitious What’s next? Multitasking Tenacity Entrepreneurial


Focus Task Relationships and Results Task and Results Global and Networked Technology Adapted Acquired Assimilated Integral Entitlement Seniority Experience Merit




Workplace View on


Respect for Authority


Authority is based on seniority and tenure.


Originally skeptical of authority but are becoming similar to Traditionalists-Time equals authority


Skeptical of authority figures Will test authority repeatedly.


Will test authority but often seen out authority figures when looking for guidance.


Workplace View on Time


at Work


Punch the clock Get the job done


Workaholics Invented 50 hr work week Visibility is the key


Project oriented Get paid to get job done


Effective workers but gone @5PM on dot. View work as a “gig” or something that fills the time between weekends.


Workplace View on Skill




Training happens on the job Newly developed skills benefit the company, not the individual


Skills are an ingredient to success but they are not as important as work ethic and “face time”.


Amassed skills will lead to next job, the more they know the better. Work ethic is important, but not as much as skills


Training is important and new skills will ease stressful situations. Motivated by learning / want to see immediate results.


View on


Work/Life Balance


Work hard to maintain job security


Were hesitant of taking too much time off work for fear of losing their place on the corporate team. As a result, there is an imbalance between work and family.


Because of parents who are Boomer workaholics, they focus on clearer balance between work and family. Do not worry about losing their place on the corporate team it they take time off.


Not only balance with work and life, but balance with work, life and community involvement and self development. Flex time, job sharing, and sabbaticals will be requested more by this generation.


Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials BusinessFocus Quality Long Hours Productivity Contribution


Work Ethic and Values


Adhere to rules Dedicated work ethic Duty before fun Expect others to honor their commitments and behave responsibly Individualism is NOT valued Like to be respected Like to hear motivational messages Linear Work style Socialization is important Their word is their bond Value due process and fair play Value Honor Value compliance Value Sacrifice Value Dedication Value Hard work Value Good Attitude Value Attendance Value Practical Knowledge Value Loyalty


Challenge authority Crusading causes Dislike conformity and rules Heavy focus on work as an anchor in their lives Loyal to the team Question authority Process oriented Relationship focused at work Strive to do their very best Value ambition Value collaboration Value Equality Value Personal fulfillment/gratification Value personal growth Value teamwork Value youthfulness Want respect from younger workers Want a flexible route into retirement Willing to take risks Work efficiently


Care less about advancement than about work/life balance Expect to influence the terms and conditions of the job Work/family balance is important to them Enjoy work, but are more concerned about work/life navigation Have a work ethic that no longer mandates 10 hr days. Like a casual work environment Looking for meaningful work and innovation Move easily between jobs and criticized for having no attachment to a particular job/employer Outcome oriented Output focused Prefer diversity, technology, informality and fun Rely on their technological acuity and business savvy to stay marketable. Want to get in, get the work done and move on to the next thing.


Believe that because of technology, they can work flexibly anytime, anyplace and that they should be evaluated on work product-not how, when or where they got it done. Expect to influence the terms and conditions of the job Have a work ethic that no longer mandates 10 hr days. High expectations of bosses and managers to assist and mentor them in attainment of professional goals. Want long-term relationships with employers, but on their own terms “Real Revolution”>decrease in career ambition in favor of more family time, less travel, less personal pressure. Goal oriented Looking for meaningful work and innovation May be the first generation that readily accepts older leadership Looking for careers and stability Mentoring is important to them Obsessed w/ career developments Prefer diversity,technology,informality&fun Recognize that people make the company successful Tolerant Thrive in a collaborative work environment Training is important to them Understand importance of great mentors Want to enhance their work skills by continuing their education




Work Environment


Conservative Hierarchal Clear chain of command Top-down management


“Flat” organizational hierarchy Democratic Humane Equal Opportunity Warm, friendly environment


Functional, Positive, Fun Efficient Fast paced and Flexible Informal Access to leadership Access to information


Collaborative Achievement-oriented Highly creative Positive Diverse Fun, Flexible, Want continuous feedback


Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials


Work is… An obligation A Long Term Career


An exciting adventure A Career Work and then Retire


A difficult challenge A contract Just a Job


A means to an end Fulfillment Flexible Work Arrangements


What They Are Looking For In


a Job


Recognition and respect for their experience Value placed on history/traditions Job security and stability Company with good reputation and ethics Clearly defined rules/policies Do what you know needs to be done


Ability to “shine”/”be a star” Make a contribution Company represents a good cause Fit in w/ company vision/mission Team approach Need clear and concise job expectations, and will get it done Like to achieve work throughteams.


Dynamic young leaders Cutting edge systems/tech Forward thinking company Flexibility in scheduling Input evaluated on merit, not age/seniority If you can’t see the reason for the task, they will question it. If you can’t keep them engaged then they will seek it in another position.


Want to be challenged-Don’t want boring job Expect to work with positive people and company that can fulfill their dreams Strong, ethical leaders/mentors Treated w/ respect in spite of age Social network They expect to learn new knowledge and skills(they see repeating tasks as a poor use of their energy and time and an example of not being taken seriously) Friendly environments(Respond poorly to inflexible hierarchical organizations. Respond best to more networked, less hierarchical organizations. Flexible schedules Want to be evaluated on output not input- on the work product itself They expect to be paid well They want to make a difference Because of being a product of the “drop down and click menu”, they may need to be given a list of options


Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials


Work Assets


Bring value to the workplace with their experience, knowledge Consistent Disciplined Dependable Detail Oriented Hardworking Loyalty Stable Thorough Use their institutional experience and intuitive wisdom to face changes in the workplace.


Anxious to please Challenges the status quo Can creatively break down the big picture into assignments. Good at seeing the big picture Good team players Mission oriented Politically Savvy-gifted in political correctness Service oriented Will go the extra mile Works hard


Adapt well to change Consumer mentality Direct communicators Don’t mind direction but resent intrusive supervision. Eager to Learn, Very Determined Good task managers Good short term problem skills Highly educated Multitaskers Not intimidated by authority Thrive on flexibility Technologically savvy Will do a good job if given the right tools Value “information” Want feedback


Consumer mentality Collaboration Goal oriented Highly educated Multitask Fast Optimistic Positive attitude Technical; savvy Tenacious


Work Liabilities


Don’t adapt well to change Don’t deal well w/ ambiguity Hierarchical Typically take a top down approach modeled by the military chain of command Avoid Conflict Right or wrong


Expect everyone to be workaholics Dislike conflict Don’t like change Challenge Authority of Traditionalists Judgmental if disagree Not good with finances Peer loyalty “Process before results” Self-centered


Built “portable” resume Cynical;skeptical Dislike Authority Dislike rigid work requirements Impatient Lack people skills No long term outlook Respect Competance Mistrusts Institutions Rejects rules Don’t understand the optimism of Boomers and Gen Y


Distaste for menial work (they are brain smart) Inexperienced Need supervision Need structure Lack discipline High expectations Lack of skills for dealing with difficult people Impatient Lack of experience Respond poorly to those who act in an authoritarian manner and/or who expect to be respected due to higher rank alone.


Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials


Keys to Working




Think that work is not suppose to be fun They follow rules well but want to know procedures. Tend to be frustrated by what they see as a lack of discipline, respect, logic and structure especially if the workplace is more relaxed or spontaneous. Consider their feelings Tend to be conservative in Workplace Like the personal touch


Want to hear that their ideas matter. They were valued youth, teens and young adults and expect to be valued in the workplace. Their careers define them, their work is important to them. Silly routines are frustrating. They expect their work, and themselves to matter. Before they do anything, they need to know why it matters, how it fits into the big picture and what impacts it will have on whom. Do well in teams Are motivated by their responsibilities to others Respond well to attention and recognition. Don’t take criticism well Less likely to offer necessary recognition. Need flexibility, attention and freedom


Want independence in the workplace and informality Give them time to pursue other interests Allow them to have fun at work Give them the latest technology


Like a team oriented workplace Want to work with bright, creative people Take time to learn about their personal goals They expect to be treated respectfully. Raised to feel valued and very positive about themselves;they see as a sign of disrespect any requirement to do things just because this is the way it has always been done or to pay one’s dues. Want to work with friends Provide engaging experiences that develop transferable skills Provide rational for the work you’ve asked them to do and the value it adds. Provide variety Grow teams and networks with great care;develop the tools and processes to support faster response and more innovative solutions. Provide a work environment that rewards extra effort and excellence Pay close attention to helping them navigate work and family issues. Offer structured, supportive work environment Personalize work and also involve in teams Interactive work environment






Hierarchy Directive Command-and-control


Consensus/Consensual Collegial


Competence Everyone is the same Challenge others Ask why


Achievers TBD(this group has not spent much time in the workplace so this characteristic is yet to be determined)


View of Authority


Respectful Impressed Unimpressed Relaxed


My heroes are….


The unit Kennedy’s, Martin Luther King .. What’s a hero? Boss


My grandparents Boss-if things are right Themselves


Interactive Style


Individual Team Player Loves to have meetings


Entrpreneur Participative


Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials Technology


is… Hoover Dam The microwave What you can hold in your hand;cell,


PDA Ethereal – intangible


Communica- tions Media


Rotary phones One-on-one Write a memo


Touch-tone phones Call me anytime


Cell phones Call me only at work


Internet Picture phones E-mail


Communica- tion


Discrete Present your story in a formal, logical manner Show respect for their age/experience (address as Mr, Sir, Mrs) Use good grammar and manners (no profanity) Deliver you message based on the history/traditions of the company and how they can fit Use formal language Don’t waste their time Use inclusive language (we, us) Focus-words not body language Slow to warm up Memo Like hand-written notes, less email and more personal interaction


Diplomatic In person Speak open – direct style Use body language to communicate Present Options (flexibility) Use E-Comm’s/face-to-face Answer questions thoroughly and expect to be pressed for details Avoid Manipulative/controlling language Like the personal touch from Managers Get consensus-include them or they may get offended Establish a friendly rapport OK to use first names Learn what is important to them Emphasize the company’s vision and mission and how they can fit in


Blunt/Direct Immediate Use straight talk, present facts Use email as #1 tool Learn their language & speak it Use informalcommunication style Talk in short sound bytes Share info immediately and often Has the potential to bridge the generation gap b/w youngest and oldest workers. Don’t mico-manage Use direct, straightforward approach Avoid buzz words and company jargon Tie your message to “results” Emphasize “WIIFM” in terms of training and skills to build their resume


Polite Use positive, respectful, motivational, electronic communication style.(Cell phones, email, IM, text)>these are“fun” Communicate in person if the message is very important Use email and voice mail as #1 tools Don’t talk down-they will resent it Show respect through language and they will respect you Use action verbs Use language to portray visual pictures Be humorous-show you are human Be careful about the words you use and the way you say it(they are not good at personal communication because of technical ways of communicating) Be positive Determine your goals and aspirations and tie message to them Prefer to learn in networks, teams using multi-media while being entertained and excited


Feedback and Rewards


No news is good news Satisfaction is a job well done Feedback on performance as they listen Want subtle, private recognition on an individual level without fanfare.


Feel rewarded by money and will often display all awards, certificates and letters of appreciation for public view. Like praise Title recognition Give something to put on the wall. Somewhat more interested in soft benefits than younger generations Enjoy public recognition Appreciate awards for their hard work&the long hrs. they work


Not enamored by public recognition. Want to be rewarded wit time off. Freedom is the best reward Prefer regular feedback on their work but as less dependant on being told that they are good people. Somewhat more interested in benefits than younger generations Need constructive feedback to be more effective Are self-sufficient,give them structure, some coaching, but implement a hands-off type of supervisory style


Like to be given feedback often and they will ask for it often. Meaningful work Be clear about goals and expectations Communicate frequently Provide Supervision & Structure Want recognition for their heroes;bosses and grandparents. Managers who balance these frames of reference in rewarding workers create a more valuable experience for both the employee and worker.


Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials Messages that


Motivate “Your experience is respected” “You are valued”


“You are needed” Do it your way Forget the rules


You will work with other bright, creative people


Motivated by… Being respected Security


Being valued, needed Money


Freedom and removal of rules Time Off


Working with other bright people Time Off


Money is… Livelihood Status Symbol Means to an end Today’s payoff


Work and Family Life




“Ne’er the two shall meet” Keep them separate At this point in their lives they are interested in flexible hrs and are looking to create balance in their lives after working most of it.


No balance “Live to work” At this point in their lives they are interested in flexible hrs and are looking to create balance in their lives. They have pushed hard, all work and no play and they are beginning to wonder if it was worth it.


“Work to live” Balance is important. They will sacrifice balance, but only occasionally. They work to live, not live to work.


“Work to live” Balance is important. They will sacrifice balance, but only occasionally. They value their lifestyle over upward mobility. If presented with a work promotion that will throw their life out of balance, they will choose their lifestyle.




Investment in long term commitment Support-long term commitment Show support for stability, security and community Actions w/ focus on standards and norms Allow the employee to set the “rules of engagement” Ask what has worked for them in the past and fit your approach to that experience Let them define the outcome that you both want Use testimonials from the nation’s institutions Respect their experience Emphasize that you have seen an particular approach work in the past, don’t highlight uniqueness or need for radical change


Stellar career important as they question where I have been and where I am going Appreciate they paid their dues under the hierarchical rules Teach them balance:work, family, financial, etc. Need to know they are valued Show them how you can help them use their time wisely Pre-assess their comfort level with technology before new projects Demonstrate the importance of a strong team and their role Emphasize that their decision is a good one and a “victory” for them Follow up, check in, and ask how the individual is doing on a regular basis, but DO NOT micro-manage.


Offer a casual work environ.&lighten up. Get them involved, Encourage creativity Allow flexibility, Be more hands off Encourage a learning environment Listen – and learn! They work with you, not for you Offer variety and stimulation May need help in taking responsibility for full process completion and in appreciating how their input affects the whole. Need their managers to appreciate that they have a life/can be more efficient one task at a time. They will leave in a second if a better deal comes along. Provide learning and development opportunities Provide situations to try new things. Ask for their input in selecting an option Be prepared to answer “why” often Present yourself as an information provider, not Boss Use their peers as testimonials Appear to enjoy your work Follow up and meet your commitments. They are eager to improve and expect you to follow through with information


Encouragement to explore new avenues through breaking the rules Raise the bar on self as they have high expectations Goals – in steps and actions Establish mentoring programs Honor their optimism and welcome and nurture them Be flexible Challenge them Respect them Offer customization-a plan specific to them Offer peer-level examples Spend time providing information and guidance Allow options, including work from home and flex time Be impressed with their decisions


Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials


Career Development


Not really an option for the Traditionalists. Just taught to keep their nose to the grindstone. The ultimate goal was simply to move up within the organization, but realized this happened only to a few.


Focus on developing their careers through opportunities within one organization or at least one industry. Moved up based on seniority, not always based on skill and expertise.


Take a pro-active approach to career development through more degrees and experiences both within the organization and without. This is often seen as being dis-loyal to the company, but Gen Xers see it as being loyal to themselves.


Millennials will enter the work force with more experiences than any generation before them. They will continue to seek this through requests for more experiences and opportunities. If they don’t get it at their work, they will seek it elsewhere.


Training and Development


Training should contribute to the organization’s goals


Training is a contribution to the organization’s goals, but is also a path to promotion and additional compensation.


Training enhances their versatility in the marketplace and investment in their future. Not necessarily loyal to the company who trained them.


Willing and eager to take risks;don’t mind making mistakes-they consider this a learning opportunity.




Put in 30 years, retire and live off of pension/savings


If I retire, who am I? I haven’t saved any money so I need to work, at least part time. I I’ve been downsized so I need to work , at least part time.


I may retire early;I’ve saved my money. I may want different experiences and may change careers. I may want to take a sabbatical to develop myself.


Jury is still out but will probably be similar to Gen Xers.


Fundraising Tips


Offer them conservative planned giving and financial management tools. Have one on one meetings and ask their advice. No email fundraising here. The more personal the better. Older generations (include Boomers) may be more interested in planned giving and financial management tools. They will respond better to traditional solicitation strategies like personal letters and fact to face meetings.


Put them out front and in the spotlight. Get them involved, allow them to find self-fulfillment through work with your organization. Offer them more aggressive planned giving and financial management tools. Appeal to their idealism Could your agency be where they spend their “third age.?”


Use humor in appeals. Allow them to work independently for your agency and o their own terms- can’t stand infinite committee meetings. Social entrepreneurs-“micro-loans”. Creative use of new technologies. Understand their primary focus is their family. Lone ranger philanthropy and volunteerism. Younger generations have shorter attention spans. The trick is to engage them quickly (often with humor) let them see how they can make a difference, and connect things they care about like their families and environment. Messages can be delivered by technology but need to be short and to the point.


Use them for focus groups, ask their opinions. Put them in charge of using technologies for appeals-no long appeal letters. Utiliize their networks-have them plan events that interest them. Act fast on their interest or you will lose them. Link your cause to sustainability. “Mid Century Modern” is cool again.


Birth Years

Other Names


Core Values


Work Ethic




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