Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials

Apr 30, 2014

Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and the Millennials are three distinct generations of employees, who bring different angles to the workforce. Of course, every individual is also shaped by his/her own set of circumstances and background. We characterize each group, not to create stereotypes, but rather to gain an understanding of the pluses of each generation, building stronger relationships and companies in the process. Understanding each group and developing a strategy to create a work environment that best utilizes these pluses can be a challenge, but a wise HR manager will learn how to leverage the strengths and competencies of each generation, while connecting with the heart of the individual.

So who are they?                              

  • Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) enjoyed an economically healthy economy, learning to work hard and reap the resulting abundance. The nuclear family dominated. Television and touchtone telephones were the “new media.”
  • Gen Xers dealt with the latch key syndrome while both parents worked. Blended families became the norm. Personal computers and cell phones entered the scene.
  • Millenials (born 1981-2000) experienced supervised education beneath the protective hand of helicopter parents, who insisted that everyone wins a trophy. Technology moved into high-speed internet access, cell phone mania, texting, and social media.

How does their background affect the workplace?

Baby Boomers:

  • Corporate ladder climbers, who tend to be hard working, competitive, and loyal to company. Though motivated by social/environmental issues, they seek money, benefits, and prestige.
  • Prefer face-to-face communication, and group/team meetings, choosing email over texting.
  • Value hard work, personal recognition, community involvement, ownership, financial stability, health and wellness, and freedom.

Gen Xers:

  • Resourceful, goal-oriented, multi-tasking, global thinkers who appreciate meaningful work, question everything, prefer flexible work schedules, and/or work-from-home options.
  • They are skilled at all forms of social media, but want to make their own decisions on which to use.
  • Value independence, flexible informal work environments, recognition, mobility, security, friends, and freedom.


  • Capably build parallel careers, maintaining several jobs simultaneously, and job hop with abandon, fearlessly quitting one position before securing another one. Consider meaningful work more important than income earned.
  • They are street-smart technological experts and social multi-taskers who want speed, thrills, and eternal connection with their peers.
  • Value relationships (including with their parents), high-speed access to knowledge, creativity, simplicity, balance, authenticity, and a chance to save the world.

What are their strengths and weaknesses?

Baby Boomers:


  • Strong sense of values.
  • Great mentors who offer wisdom and insight.
  • Hardworking, patient, and loyal to their company and coworkers.


  • Low-tech.
  • Dislike change.
  • Often accused of being too bossy and conservative. 

Gen Xers:

  • Socially and politically pro-active employees.
  • Goal-oriented tech wizards.
  • Easily adapt to new situations.


  • Impatient, which results in poor attention to detail and little loyalty.
  • Lacking in communication skills. 


  • Extremely tech-savvy.
  • Social, flexible, team players.
  • Bring daring innovative creativity to the work force.


  • Impulsive, impatient, struggle with maintaining focus.
  • Demand a high price for their innovations and creativity. 

How do we apply this knowledge? 

Baby boomers:

  • Communicate with them is through email, group meetings, or face to face.
  • When training is required, utilize the traditional classroom, with participation, critical reflection, and feedback.
  • Consider them a wise choice for leading company mentoring and coaching programs.
  • Use financial rewards and perks as motivation. 

Gen Xers:

  • Communicate with them via cell, email, texting, or one on one when needing face-to-face.
  • When training is required, utilize web-based and multi-media with brief, easy to read materials, and provide access to simple, logically organized databases.
  • Freely assign extensive projects, make your expectations clear, respond to their questions, and give them the freedom to move forward in their way.
  • Respect their independent nature. 


  • Communicate with them through any high tech form of social media, and expect minimal face-to-face.
  • When training is required, use high-tech – they are technological masterminds.
  • Tap into their creativity, problem solving, and innovation.
  • Offer them flexible hours and flexible office rules, including work-from-home options, so they can maintain balance between work, social causes, and personal relationships.


Contact Friday Services. We will find your company the best matches from every generation.

Arden Ph: 828-684-8700   Fax: 828-684-6028  Em: [email protected]

Hendersonville Ph: 828-697-6300  Fax: 828-697-2779  Em: [email protected] 

Morganton Ph: 828-437-4200  Fax: 828-437-4215  Em: [email protected]


If you see a lot of potential in yourself – so do we! Start your job search and learn about the opportunities and benefits offered.


Friday Services is independent and locally owned. We offer Western North Carolina employers strategic flexibility with greater attention to detail.