Victorio Consulting Blog - Thinking Outloud

Thinking Outloud

Thoughts on succession, leadership coaching, building synergistic teams and change management systems for family businesses and organizations.

Managing a Multi-Generational Workplace

Managing a Multi-Generational Workplace

Managing a Multigenerational Workforce


With the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age in the next few years, the content, context, and knowledge that is crucial to the success of organizations risk getting lost without a strategic plan to retain valuable organizational information (Bragg, 2011). In her research, Melanie Bragg, PhD., defines knowledge as the “fluid mix of contextual information, value, experience, and rules”, that promote collaborative learning and implementation in the business context. It is through the meaningful, personal interactions within the multigenerational workforce that will give way to productive knowledge transfer.

Characteristics such as effective leadership, high trust, cooperation and collaboration, a culture that fosters problem-seeking as well as problem-solving, paired with the necessary support structures upholding an efficient organizational design that enables communication flow, and a reward system would benefit those that share knowledge (Goh, 2002). Bragg adds that competent employees, the use of common communication media, and a collaborative work culture would help establish mentoring programs, teamwork initiatives, and multigenerational teams. These are all strategies that would be helpful to transfer and potentially develop new knowledge. This type of organizational framework can allow for an increased competitive advantage, improved organizational performance, and an openness to innovation and continuous improvement in the workplace.  

Organizations that emerge successfully in the search for top talent and sustainability will be paying attention to the younger generations, and designing specific talent management strategies for recruiting, managing, motivating, and retaining them. This means thinking differently to accommodate differences in perspectives and workplace expectations, and offering talent management programs that are relevant across the lifespan of their employees.

Generation Breakdown-XTUARIc5m_Mb3BwMzUlv_pnOY27Ajrm-ycQEWDwajZyqCbbvdT_ontEkob3fopz6NYrQNaOY_YHF-pHkoIsE5iWLlnFWa8CtKjNRk_bh3LaFlDWjL4OHh7PzltF1ebPXDVVqrGi

Generation Y (1986-1990s)

  • Also referred to as Millennials

  • Grew up in a period of economic expansion and The Great Recession, skilled, technically savvy, multi-taskers; the first generation raised on “scheduled childhood.”

  • Need constant stimulation, are extremely educated & highly dependent on social networking

How Leadership can optimize what GenY’s have to offer

  • Regular employee feedback
  • Clear targets and regular, structured reviews
  • Promote a collaborative work environment
  • Non-tangible rewards for their skills, such as work-life balance and a personally rewarding career


Generation X (1965-1985)ncpCMMdwWKNc5DTUk4oaaPn2YWe-ZB8uNMWxhqYHApPmudOAxo9_hFfUt8qervyOKLXBxoyxxotX74RI78hvTN3kS4HkIUX1URQwT1oxpRYYhpG7pXVG9xHUpdr9Xgl-6cb45Dus

  • Influenced by Watergate, the Energy Crisis, dual income and single parents
  • First group of Latchkey and day-care kids
  • The group as a whole tends to be skeptical, cynical, independent, and highly computer-literate
  • High skepticism of management and hierarchies
  • Presents rapport challenges, and managers requiring additional effort into winning them over before buy-in
  • Authentic Leadership

How Leadership can optimize what Gen Xers have to offer

  • Communicate expectations clearly
  • Nurture their development in the form of performance management programs
  • Clear direction
  • Autonomy - Let them do what they are capable of doing


Baby Boomers (1946-1964)gGAQPHDuONHCRUXyDHhO1auYMnfCoqv3vCHUn3TRU-DfTewgjoTxQrqcpKuX3TqAx-fU2AU0P5b-re7tmzJsCi-L6wp_xNWDdNFKK4JgE3HmSF1METa9qE6b1ri7hqHuR0NRN1xp

  • Turbulence of the 1960s Boomers from many different perspectives, including
  • Music, Vietnam War, and the assassinations of President John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King
  • Motivated by perks, prestige, and position; typically equating their work and positions with self-worth
  • Work-centric, independent, goal-oriented and competitive
  • Prefer hierarchical structure with a clear path towards the top

How Leadership can optimize what Baby Boomers have to offer

  • Offer responsibility along with authority
  • Acknowledge opinions and communicate their value
  • Structure a payment plan with benefits, security, and opportunities for growth


Silents/Veterans (1924-1945)

  • Grew up in conditions complicated by war and the Great Depression7D_pTKcUbKnVSSxePzOlrCXrQdImqW75aXoG_PWIqzkeeIlSA30cLdUzX5iBJJjVyuWu_QUBR-d-V2Ikx7_i1VWjVTHH30hCWbI9w-kn-BHX2nHLoVSuVAyJ-sTCDQvhPWrVrNXK
  • Loyal to employers and expect the same in return, and possess superb interpersonal skills
  • Believe promotions, raises, and recognition should come from job tenure
  • Measure work ethic on timeliness, productivity, and not drawing attentio

How Leadership can optimize what Silents and Veterans have to offer

  • Flexible arrangements so they can work on their own schedule
  • Exploit their knowledge and experience
  • Formal communication style
  • Provide clear feedback




Bragg, Melanie Leigh. (2011) "Knowledge Transfer in Multigenerational Organizations." Thesis. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, n.d.

Cennamo, L., & Gardner, D. (2008). Generational differences in work values, outcomes and person­-organisation values fit. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23(8), 891­-906

Goh, S. (2002). Managing effective knowledge transfer: An integrative framework and some practice implications. Journal of Knowledge Management, 6(1).