While I’ve written extensively on the effects of the recession on employees, it’s interesting to look at how the generations at each end of the spectrum are reacting specifically.

Chief Learning Officer magazine recently reported on two Deloitte Consulting studies showing:

“In both industrialized and emerging countries, employees between the ages of 50 and 59 were less engaged and less optimistic than employees between the ages of 20 and 26. And they may become even less engaged with the current recession, as they will need to continue working in organizations that may see them as outdated.”


“As for the younger generation, 45% of Gen Y employees surveyed said the economy will have either a ‘positive impact’ or ‘no impact’ on their marketability in the workforce. In the research, what comes out loud and clear are development opportunities – what we [might see as] audacious opportunities to take risks [and] learn new things. That’s really to a large degree what they’re clamoring for.”

Companies need both generations fully engaged. Boomers have the institutional and customer knowledge and experience critical to the continued success of the company. Gen Yers bring the spirit of innovation and risk-taking that will be necessary in the new world (business) order that will emerge from this recession.

What are you doing to cater to these unique needs of Boomers to GenY? You are also dealing with entirely different expectations for acknowledgment of effort in the workplace, praise and appreciation. For multi-national corporations, the additional layer of varied cultural expectations only adds to the confusion.

Derek Irvine, Globoforce

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