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Leadership Conference Presenters Share Insight on Understanding Generational Differences
Monday, September 8, 2014 6:40 AM

In a high energy, participatory presentation at the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Leadership Conference & Expo last week in San Antonio, Meagan and Larry Johnson highlighted the dominant generational forces in the workplace and how each generation’s “generational signposts” drive motivation, influence company loyalty and delivery of customer service.

The duo shared insight on the Traditional (born pre-1945), Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Gen X (1965-1980), Gen Y (1981-1995) and Linkster generations (Born after 1995). The Traditional generation, Meagan explained, represent 8 percent of the workforce, and their biggest complaint is that no one asks for their opinion on matters. Boomers represent 30 percent of the workforce and more than 70 percent of Boomers plan to continue working past retirement age. Boomers tend to work well with others, but feel they are sometime discriminated against because of their age.

Gen X is the smallest population, representing 17 percent of the population. This latch-key generation is extremely independent. They do not like being micromanaged, and their biggest complaint is office politics. Gen Y represents 25 percent of the U.S. population. This generation has grown up with technology. They’ve been involved in family decisions, and their number one complaint is hearing people say, “When I was your age…”

The Linkster generation represents 18 percent of the population, and most are still in school. Their number one complaint is being grounded.

According the father, daughter duo, there is a great deal we can learn from each other. For example, Larry shared with the credit union audience a story about his first job. Larry was a college student and worked an evening shift as a janitor in a factory. Many times he said he would hide in one of the bathrooms to study. One evening, an older woman who also worked on his cleaning shift found him in the bathroom studying. Instead of reprimanding him, she offered to clean the bathroom for him.

“I learned so much about work ethic from her and from that moment on, I never stole a minute of time from my employer,” Larry told the crowd.  

The current work force has the widest span of ages than at any point in modern history. Larry and Meagan stressed with the credit union audience the importance of learning about and understanding one another in order to work as a cohesive and effective team.