Beef Tips

August 2017 Management Minute

“Five Generations in Today’s Workplace”

by Justin W. Waggoner, beef systems specialist

I recently learned that there are approximately five generations currently in the American workforce. I would add that since farmers and ranchers don’t often retire and the kids start doing chores at an early age there could possibly be up to six generations involved in the day-to-day activities of a farm or ranch. These generations are somewhat loosely defined across different sources as:

1) WWI and WWII generation (born ~1901-1926)
2) Mature or silent generation (born ~1928-1945)
3) The Baby Boomers (born ~1946-1965)
4) Generation X (born ~1965-1980)
5) Millennials (born ~1980-2000)
6) Generation Z or Centennials

All of these groups have defining characteristics and ideals that make them unique. There is tremendous amount of differences between these generations, if we consider that Granddad may have been raised in a world with limited electrical conveniences, and the millennial grandson, has never experienced a world without computers or mobile hand-held communication devices. Have you given any consideration to the different age groups or generations that currently make up your workforce? Have you updated your policies, procedures or verbal expectations to include modern means of communication such as texting? For example, if a family member or an employee is going to be late is it acceptable to send a text. If it is a more formal organization, what about training materials? Millennials and the Generation Z’s (coming soon) likely prefer and are more engaged in something they can watch over printed material.

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