The Millennial intern already wants a paid vacation. The Traditionalist keeps reminiscing about better days. Does it sometimes seem like these generational roadblocks make working together impossible? Such age-based assumptions can put the harmony of a team, and ultimately its productivity, at risk. Cut those stereotypes off short by debunking the following myths:
Myth: Traditionalists can’t adapt to change.
“If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” Hearing such phrases from Traditionalists might just induce a cringe or two. Can’t Traditionalists embrace change and learn to adapt? According to recent studies, they can. Roughly 22% of grandparents regularly use social media websites, and that percentage is growing every day. And for the record, the ancient technology of the remote control still manages to baffle people of all generations.
Myth: Boomers don’t know how to have fun.
The phone starts buzzing with ten new emails from the boss – all from her first vacation in three years. Baby Boomers have been known to have few qualms about always being available, but as they begin to retire, their aspirations reflect differently. Over 42% of Boomers reject either full-time work or full-time leisure, preferring to have a healthy cycling of both. After all, all play and no work makes Jack just as dull.
Myth: Generation X has no respect for the rules.
Are Gen Xers constantly flying in the face of authority? While some might see Generation X as irreverent in the workplace, the statistics tell a different story. Gen X is one of the hardest-working generations; on average, they work 45.6 hours per week (6% longer than the generation before at the same age). Leave them to their own devices, and Gen Xers can quickly turn their independent spirit to diligence at work.
Myth: Millennials are lazy and entitled.
Bemoaning the old mantra “They don’t know how good they have it” seems like a customary pastime when looking to the younger generation, but don’t worry too much for the future; though unemployment is high, 23% of Millennials began their own startups as a result. As one of the fastest-growing entrepreneurial, multi-tasking generations, Millennials pose a formidable force of ambitious individuals.
It’s important to recognize that different generations may think and act differently as a group, but as employees age, their personalities and even work styles often shift along with it. Valuing each participant for his or her unique skill sets as an individual, rather than as a stereotype, is essential to being a successful team.