Understanding Generational Clashes in the Workplace
One of the main issues companies struggle with today is being able to maintain a stress-free work
environment for employees. Today's workplace is more diverse than ever before as persons from
multiple generations are being required to work alongside each other.
Generation Y thinks Generation X are whiners. Generation X sees Generation Y as arrogant and
entitled. And everyone thinks the Baby Boomers are self-absorbed workaholics. Obviously these are
generalities, but assumptions like these create a lot of tension and adversity, miscommunication and can also
In order to sustain productivity and success in the workplace, it is important to understand how individuals
of different generations both act and react towards one another. This involves gaining an understanding of the
characteristics of each generation, including their associated qualities.
What dates define each generation? The exact date range that differentiates the generations is the subject
of diverging opinions. Part of the variance comes from slightly differing definitions of how each generation is defined,
as there are no hard and fast lines that occur between December 31st of one year and January 1st of the next. More
often than not, it's a shift that occurs over three to five years, maybe more.
Traditionalists (prior to 1945)
Also regarded as the Silent Generation, Traditionalists are very hardworking and financially conservative due to
the economic uncertainty they've experienced in the past. Civic-minded and loyal, they value security and loyalty
as they will likely work for the same employer for their entire life. Traditionalists are not likely to stir conflict and
were taught to respect authority. Most of this generation has reached retirement. Therefore with the remaining
small percentage still in the workforce, it is important to be mindful of the fact that Traditionalists are slow
to change work habits and are less tech-savvy compared to the younger generations.