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Business meeting with a diverse group of people, including multiple generations and cultures.

For the first time in American history, we have four different generations of employees in the workplace – Veterans, Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers, the latter commonly labeled “The Millennials.” Each group represents different beliefs, values, attitudes, and behavioral norms.

This multi-generational mosaic can affect how members of these groups work in teams, implement new business practices, and perform the job. Generational differences also have performance implications in terms of the level of commitment to goals, recognition of authority, and understanding work instructions. According to Dhawan and Joni, “the ability to bring together different kinds of people and ideas to foster the recombination of different ideas, and to see things from a different perspective, is a key part of connectional intelligence and a key skill for both individuals and institutions to develop if they want to remain competitive” (Slim, 2013, pp. 133-134). The mission for business is to harness the energies of each generation and create a synergythat breeds winning interpersonal relationships.

Review the following for further insight into the melding of generations:


Discuss the following questions:

  1. What problems do you foresee occurring with four generations as members of the same workgroup?
  2. What communication strategies would you suggest to minimize the differences and create a cohesive team?
  3. What one tip from The Harvard Business Review‘s Spotlight on Leadership “Leadership is a Conversation” (see Module 2 Readings, Videos, and Lessons) could you apply to improve employee engagement across all four generations? 


Slim, Pamela. (2013). Body of work: Finding the thread that ties your story together. New York, NY: Portfolio / Penguin.

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