Generation gap emerges playing a big role in the field of business and management, as companies need to balance the needs and views of individuals belonging from different age groups. Gender gaps have drastic effects not only on their business, but the entire business cycle. Thus, businesses need to be aware of the changing demographics of the client base. Each generation has different behaviors’, expectation levels, attitude, habits and motivational buttons. Generational differences are responsible for many things such as managing, recruiting, building teams, dealing with change, and maintaining and raising the productivity level. Generations include individuals with the different ways of communicating, which might result in misunderstandings, high employee turnover, and gaining employee commitment. The era in which the person was born affects their ideology and living, and the viewpoint of the world and the relative events during their period mould their outlook and shape their values. Generation gap and the inability of both the managers and the subordinates to communicate is the major drawback, both at interpersonal and management relations
Generation gap is not a new term it is as old as history. Managing four age groups with differing attitudes is really difficult for an organization to handle, and it often takes them worried. A recent survey by Ernst & Young, who enquired about the opinions about each age group from the American professionals and landed up with finding significant differences. In the given report we have considered the people of 3,4 different generations working in the company United Airlines.
United Airlines is one of the best airline companies in the world which is well known for its airline services in USA. Since its inception in the year 1926, it has emerged out to be one of the best airline companies in United States of America. Out of the many factors which are responsible for the uninterrupted success of the company, the most important factor is its employers. United Airlines works on the principle of experience and excitement and the company believes that success can be achieved by the mixture of these two processes. Catering to the similar needs the company has been recruiting people who belong to different age groups.
In the report for the analysis of the work and the working environment possessed by the people of different age group who have been contributing to the success of the company.
The first person that we have considered for the same is Veteran, who was born it 1922 .He is one of the senior most member of the company and his views are considered important from the point of view of the company. believe in self-sacrifice and dedication. There are many other people who are working in the company and belong to the same generation. They have very strong ethic and tend to be very respectful of seniority, title and rank. They have a very practical outlook, to reuse, recycle and are aware how to put money away for a rainy day. These people have been providing their best for the company and add feathers to its development. These people have seen the growth of the company, United Airlines from a very close perspective.
The other group of people who have been working in the company includes those who have been born between 1946 and 1964 are not slacking off as they age; they are seen as hard-working, team oriented and productive. They work with the ethic “work-till-you-drop” coined the 60 hour workweek. Even on the verge of the retirement, they consider that the retirement is not the end of their career but a beginning of a career transition. They are highly optimistic and believe in achieving the impossible. These people give the consideration and priority to the hierarchy of leadership, especially when they get a chance to be a part of it, but they possess comparatively less respect for rank and hierarchy than their predecessors. They set long-term goals for themselves and have the “no pain-no gain” attitude to set them through. Thus these people are more goal oriented. They are dedicated towards their work. These people respect the views of the older people. They also get affected and motivated by the people who are in a generation above them. They have a very sound interaction with the people belonging to their age group.
The next generation that we have discussed here is the generation of the people who were born in around 1965 to 1985. These people are in their middle adult age and they have been working for the company for variable times. Some of these people have worked in the company since the beginning of their carrier when they were recruited long back while some of the people joined the company after the work experience. These people working in the category of this generation, who are expected to be battling their way up the corporate ladder, are viewed as the best team players. The people belonging to this generation are possessed of the following characteristics independent, entrepreneurial, and self-reliant. Thus, these people are the most important employers for United Nations, as these people also have the experience and are not very old. Thus they can work efficiently and give their best outputs whenever required. They are very concerned about the time. They tend to be skeptical and pragmatic, and value leadership by competence. Their career paths create a mosaic of work, learning, family and even sabbatical. Because of the generation gap, on receiving an email at 11 PM from their Boomer boss, what comes first to their mind is not “Wow, she works hard” but “Wow, she might be over her head and can’t handle the workload.” These people interact with the people of the older generations and like to work with them. But, on the other hand they also have several views in which they are not able to work according to the views of the other generations. This difference is quite obvious because they have been into the category of the people who have been born in an environment which is entirely different in comparison to the people who belong to the older age groups and work in United Airlines.
Now, the last phase of the generation series is the youths working in United Airlines, also known as “millennials”, are less surprising and good at tech stuff but truculent . These employees are the ones who have been working in United Airlines, for last two to three years. They worked at legitimate works before they left their high school as they were very connected through the internet and mobile services. They are determined and share better relationships with their family and friends on comparing with the people who belong to other generations. They are creating a new frontier for juggling multiple activities altogether, i.e. simultaneously.
Impact of the multi-generation on the organization:
After the analysis of the four different generations and the people working in the company United Airlines along with the way they interact with the people of other generations the following conclusions were obtained:
A generational issue in the workplace is very difficult to manage, they lead to conflict, raise the frustration level and poor morale, but these are not insurmountable obstacles. The older peers are not very comfortable in working with the millennials, whereas the people of the newer generation are comfortable with the same, as they enjoyed their swift promotion to managerial positions. They behave like “digital natives” and are overtaking the positions of older candidates in jobs. Older candidates are motivated from time to time through academics suggest and are repeatedly reminded to keep the pace. The label of the work of the four age groups all together reflects on the demography of the organization. Based on the performances, the junior employees are easily given away the positions and higher responsibility. Gen Y is the major reason of optimism, for they have poor communication skills and are job-hoopers, and they are irked with the myth of sense of entitlement. The people belonging to the generation between 1946 and 1964 are good learners. They are rewarded by the people of other generations. The latest generation differs from the fact that, it gets very demanding. It needs everything that other possesses. The employees coming into the new generation are powerful in numbers and will be needed to make up for the shortage due to the retirement of the older generations Breaking down communication barriers is a major need which needs to be fulfilled by the employees, or else they will land themselves short of talented workers when urgently required for the company’s betterment.
Obstacles in communication:
A major barrier that was observed between the people of different generation was the communication barriers. Here is a small report of the communication barriers faced by these people.
There are major obstacles in bringing the employees of an older generation closer to the younger generation for sharing of knowledge. Competing on the basis of personal desires, vary from generation to generation, which is coupled with the lack of trust and understanding are difficult barriers to permit the sharing of knowledge amidst the various generations. For instance, the employees of the company who belong to the eldest generation accepts their retirement and just need an incentive to stay, whereas the new generation lacks the fear of the changes and are coupled with the enjoyment of the variety. In general, the younger generation workers feel unvalued, as they feel that the older generation workers do not support, accept or rather trust their ideas. Most of the older generations will be in the view, that the younger generation lack respect and work ethic for the organizational practices and authority. These perceptions are the root cause for the generation gap, which needs to be overcome by identifying the cause of mistrust and beholding strong trust against one another. Technology is another flashpoint. The people belonging to the new generation gives preference to communicate through the IMs and text messages, via blogs, instead of using the appropriate media, such as mobile or face to face interaction, methods which were preferred by the Boomers and Generation X. Communication that were technologically facilitated, were often misunderstood by Boomers and Generation X, which raised their level of distrust over them.
Learning how to communicate with the different generations can help us to abolish the major confrontations and misunderstandings, both in the workplace and the world of business. . In order to be an effective manager and confront every challenge that lie in their way, one needs to know their employees as individuals. After the analysis we concluded on the fact that having different generations in a company, United Airlines, is beneficial for the company and has led to the growth of the company.
Understanding your own generation and the generation of the subordinates assists in understanding and managing the diversity of issues and discovering because for certain behavior and response of the people. To lower the generational gap, employees must focus on some of the basic points, which will aid them with the decision and surety level that their company is a great place where people of every generation can work. Identifying the driving personal wants of the generations is the first step to help foster knowledge-sharing. Once the personal requirements of the individual generation are identified and properly addressed, the focus needs to be shifted to identifying the communicational barrier.
As said by Patterson," A lack of understanding across generations can have detrimental effects on communication and working relationships and undermine effective services."
- Karp, Hank; Fuller, Connie; Sirias, Danilo. Bridging the Boomer Xer Gap: Creating Authentic Teams for High Performance at Work. Palo Alto, Calif.: Davies-Black Publishing, 2002.
- Kersten, Denise. “Today’s Generations Face New Communications Gap,” USA Today, November 15, 2002.
- Lancaster, Lynne C.; Stillman, David. When Generations Collide: Who They Are, Why They Clash, How to Solve the Generational Puzzle at Work. HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002