Continuing the Conversation on Generational Differences in the Workplace

Aug 26, 2013

The August 27 MetroHartford Alliance Rising Star Breakfast is focused on generational differences in the workplace.  As Baby Boomers extend their careers beyond predicted retirement and eager Millennials are climbing the ranks, finding ways to effectively communicate across the generational divide is critical for productivity.  In researching the topic, MetroHartford Alliance staff members came across interesting resources that we'd like to share with you here.

Rising Star Breakfast keynote speaker Alpesh Bhatt wrote a book that has been called a "mini MBA for the 21st century." The Triple-Soy Decaf-Latte Era: How Business and Organization are Fundamentally Transforming discusses how the Era of Access is rapidly transforming the fundamental rules of the game in ways that seem incomprehensible from the perspective of the Industrial Era.

The Pew Research Center published a report in 2010 called Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to ChangeClick here for the Executive Summary, or here for the complete 147-page report.They also created this 15-question quiz to measure your "millennial-ness."

Forbes has covered Millennials in many of their pieces, including Zack O'Malley Greenburg's How Millennials Can Survive and Thrive in the New Economy.  Forbes's Jenna Goudreau authored a series called "Youth In the Office: A Blessing or a Curse?" and Why We Need to Take 20-Something's Seriously.

We also stumbled upon on a wealth of though provoking articles on  In Millennials vs. Baby Boomers In the Workplace and What Gen Y Can Learn From Older Employees in the Workplace, Dana Schwartz articulates sentiments that both sides of the generational divide can relate to.  She goes on to offer Millennial retention strategies in her piece How to Keep 'Em Around: 3 Things Gen Y Employees Want in the Workplace.

Not even sure exactly what makes someone a millennial?  Annie Kohanek offers an explanation in Employers: Who and What Are Millennials?.

This blog post and the Rising Star Breakfast are just the beginning of a meaningful exchange on this topic, and we want to hear from you.  Did any of these articles strike a chord?  Are there other helpful resources out there that you've found?  Do you have any suggestions for how we might continue the conversation in future programming?  Let us know in a comment below!


  1. 2 Rachael E. Succo 27 Aug
    I work in an industry where I am in the minority based both on gender and age so I appreciate participating in a conversation that teaches me how to better communicate with my professional peers.  Events like this one are a great resource for me to use when I need to speak with my boss to communicate better what benefits I'd like to have in my position and how we can work together to mutually achieve the goals we have for our company.
  2. 1 Kira Rivera 27 Aug
    Great topic this morning! As a millennial I wanted to comment that we all really need to take in consideration different perspectives and be open into understanding where each individual is coming from, "walk in their shoes" so to speak.

    I think that what makes an impact between millennial and baby boomers is the traditional preconceived societal norms that the latter generation adopted and implemented in their lives. I can’t speak for my whole generation as we are all individuals, but my friends and I believe that we have the option of accepting these norms or creating our own, I want to create my own! Just because society deems certain traits as successful doesn’t mean the next generation has to value the same traits.

    It happens in every generation, individuals seek comfort in what they know or understand as correct and don’t embrace that change is unavoidable and part of life. Adaptability is the key of evolution! Success is measured different by each individual person according their internal perceptions and what it means to them and the influences they’ve inevitably absorbed from society. I believe that everything is relative to your own perceptions of reality. Just because my generation doesn’t make the same decisions or adheres to the same values that previous generations adhere too doesn’t make our decisions wrong, they’re just different!

    A common example is a conversation I have with my friends; we mostly agree that we don’t seek the family with the white picket fence in a suburban area. Doesn’t mean that I don’t value family, I just have a different idea of how I want to live my life and I want to LIVE. First I want to establish myself financially, I don’t know about my other peers but unlike previous generations I hate debt so before establishing a family I want to make sure I can afford it. For now my expenses include traveling and exploring the world as a single woman. There are so many possibilities out there that I want to explore and I want to explore everything and just live my life! I don’t want to get into debt, just work to pay debt, and then travel when I’m older with no energy! I may not travel in luxury but I travel to make connections, see the world and its different perspectives! I don’t want to buy into the expected societal norms I want to research and absorb what is out there and make my own educated decisions of what it is right for me!

    Now regarding why my generation jumps from job to job this is my opinion and solution: We feel undervalued, overworked, taken for granted since "we lack experience", underpaid, and not part of the corporate community. To keep us make us involved, show us the value we bring to your company and the positive impact we make in the community! It is a true fact that the reason I’m part of the Hartford work force is because I’ve made connections, without them there is nothing I would be attached to as my family is from out of state. Groups like HYPE are a GREAT way to include us in the working community and keep us around!

    And social media? Life is about making connections reason I love these real-time interactive online platforms, so connect with me on LinkedIn and follow my Twitter!


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