When different generations meet in the workplace, the encounters can easily create attitude wars. The conflict is a result of differing values, cultures and lifestyles that characterize each of four separate age groups, several staff-development consultants said.
Battles over work ethics, language differences or greeting styles can interrupt the atmosphere and productivity of a staff whose ages range from early 20s to mid-60s. The key to creating positive relationships is increasing awareness, understanding and acceptance, they said.
"Companies want us to change attitudes," said Ira Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions of East Hempfield Township, but the change must be in expectations of one another.
Wolfe’s clients complain most about "the younger generation," those dubbed Generation Y. But, younger employees also have their criticisms of anyone older, even those in Generation X.
Workforce professionals usually group workers into four age categories:
- Traditionalists, those born from 1933 to 1945;
- Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964;
- Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980;
- Generation Y (the millennials), born after 1980.
Read more about how firms fight generation gaps.