Baby Boomers

Born between the years of 1946 and 1964 is the generational cohort known as the Baby Boomers. They are best described as hard working and tend to have a very high work ethic (Schiffman, et al. 2008). They value flexibility and acceptance of themselves and others in the workplace. They place importance on a peaceful work environment (Klaessy. 2005). Aiding in sustaining this ideal is their value of team work (Kasey. 2008), which helps build acceptance and a friendly working relationship among co-workers. While they prefer a harmonious workplace, Baby Boomers also value peer competition in the workplace.

They also value success and are committed to climbing the ladder of success. They will sacrifice weekends and holidays to get the job done and if needed take on extra tasks that are beyond their job description if it means achieving this goal (Colenso. 2006). Baby boomers are known as a live to work generation and work long hard hours at the office. They consider their work very important to their sense of self worth and net worth. They value money as, not only is it a reward for their labour, but also a measure of their success.

Visible rewards such as plaques, certificates and rewards are also valued by Baby Boomers (Kimura, 2009). Each generational cohort has their own different values and attitudes (see Appendix 10. 1) towards work and managers must take these into consideration as it will have implications on the work environment and the running of their organisations in the 21st century. A critical factor in today’s organisation is employee attraction and retention. In the upcoming years baby boomers aged 40 to 58 will be looking to retire.

This leaves generation X aged 25 to 34 leading the work market closely followed by the fresh generation Y. The combination of generation groups and their distinct values sharing the work market demonstrates the importance of employee attraction and retention in order to ensure a healthy organisation and a happy employee discusses Heathfield (n. d). Human Resource Managers play centre field in creating a positive and loyal employee, this position holds great responsibility because if not done properly it can have a great impact on the company says Wadell, Cummings, Worley (2007).

The ability to understand what values sets each generational gap apart and what they expect from their job will minimize problems in the work place and create a loyal employee. Time, tools and training are the most common causes of failing at work. These factors are generally the easiest to solve yet the main ones affecting staff retention especially in regard to the baby boomers who aren’t as technologically advanced as generation X and primarily Y.

The employee must have the tools, time and training necessary in order to be able to do their job well, if they aren’t provided they will more than likely move to a employer who can provide them says Murphy (2005) and Heathfield (n. d). Baby boomers value knowing exactly what is expected from them each day at work this makes them content employees. Constantly changing what is expected from them will push them to the edge and create unnecessary and unhealthy workplace stress argues Driscoll (2006).

This will eventually deprive the employee of the sense of security and will therefore influence the employee to feel unsuccessful at their particular job. Although Driscoll (2006) doesn’t go to suggest an unchanging job outline as this would create a repetitive work load leading to unsatisfied generation X and Y employees who value a variety of responsibilities, just the need for a specific task framework outlining the basic expectations of an employee. Fairness and equitable treatment is very important in employee retention.

For example a relatively new employee fresh out of university (generation Y) is given $10 000 in raises over a six month time period as part of a employee attraction deal, this would resulted in the self esteem and morale of other employees who have been with the organisation for many years (generation X and baby boomers) being affected. A staff member who brings years of experience to the organisation along with a great contribution record discovering that they are getting payed less than this youngster with little to no actual experience, they will be more than likely to start searching for another job says Heathfield (n.

d). Murphy (2005) argued that although a salary increase might be the answer to attaining new staff, it also contradicts the position of the current staff. Career orientated employees such as the generation X and Y’s seek new experiences and growth opportunities within their organisation. Depriving them of these new opportunities and the ability to sit on challenging committees and attend seminars may create the sense that they cannot grow within the organisation describes Heathfield (n. d). Heathfield (n.

d) then goes on to describe that this could also be seen as a means of staff attraction, providing current employees with the opportunity to attend these industry professional associations and conferences opens the doors to meeting perspective candidates at these functions which might one day become a future employee. Generation Y value the ability to speak their mind freely with in their organisation says Stowe J. D without being seen as arrogant. It is very important that an environment in which employees feel comfortable providing feedback, offering ideas and most importantly able to criticize is provided.

The combination of these above factors will improve employee commitment and also give them a sense of control in the decision making process of their organisation much valued by the generation X and Y. On the other hand if this “free speaking” environment is not present in an organisation employees will tend to bite their tongues (a value of the baby boomers era) in fear of getting “into trouble” eventually this will cause them to leave the organisation explains Wadell et al (2007).

Generation X and Y seek the ability to utilize their skills and talents. Employees who want to be able to contribute to areas outside of their specific job description is a sign of a motivated employee. Managers need to take the time to become familiar with their employees skills, talents and experiences and decide how best to utilize them Murphy (2005) stresses.

Murphy (2005) suggests that providing promotional opportunities to current staff first is recommended to boost morale and ensure that they feel that their capabilities, talents and accomplishments are being appreciated this positive reinforcement is greatly valued by the baby boomers who “live to work” and greatly value these visible rewards making them feel needed by the organisation. The quality of supervision is important in staff retention especially when dealing with generation Y who value guidance and feedback.

The managers and supervisors also play a strong role in staff retention, anything they do to make an employee feel undervalued will lead to staff turnover says Colvin (2006). Most employee complaints are centered on this area as employees leave managers more often than jobs. Some of the main complaints outlined by each generational gap include lack of earning potential, performance feedback, failure to hold meetings, lack of clarity concerning expectations and failure to provide a framework within which employees believe they can succeed explains Heathfield (n. d).

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