Millennials are entering the workforce at a steadily increasing rate. Experts project they will comprise anywhere from 35%1 to nearly half the workforce by 20142. At the same time, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists, whether by choice or financial necessity, are postponing retirement, and more Generation Xers are moving into leadership roles. The result in many industries is four generations with very different experiences and skill sets working alongside each other for the first time. The need to break down barriers, learn from each other, retain knowledge and collaborate is profound.
While much research exists about the unique characteristics of the different generations, forward-thinking organizations are more focused on creating a synergizing work environment for all generations. Inclusive cultures are no more limited by age than they are by learning style, gender or belief system. Rushing to accommodate only the latest generation is shortsighted. Competitive advantage is achieved when leaders leverage the strengths of different generations, provide up-to-date resources and tools to benefit all employees, regardless of age, and create a culture that encourages people from different age groups to communicate openly. The transparent nature and knowledge-sharing possibilities of the third millennium make it easier than ever for the multigenerational workforce to intersect and learn from each other.