The final session of The Drake Forum was a presentation by Drakeco CEO Steve Drake on bridging the generations. To understand how to close generational gaps, you first need to understand where each generation stands. Currently there are four generations in the workplace: the Matures (born before 1946), Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1977) and Generation Y (1978-1995). The exact years may vary depending on who you talk to, but each generation shares experiences that form how they are brought up and their ideals in the workplace.
The presentation was based on surveys conducted with more than 700 farmers and ranchers, as well as more than 100 association professionals and leaders. According to this research, the number one issue between generations is work-life balance. In 1974, 40 percent of Baby Boomers said they would be better without their parents. Contrast that with the 90 percent of Gen Yers who say they are “very close” to their parents. Generation Y takes on a family-first approach to life, making work their last priority, while Baby Boomers are notorious for inventing the 60-hour work week. It’s easy to see how problems could arise when you throw these groups together in the workplace.
Conflicting views between generations also make it hard to understand how to best reach our target markets and communicate with different generations. The survey revealed some interesting points – for example:
- To communicate important information, associations are less likely to use the phone than farmers/ranchers.
- When hiring for a new position, farmers/ranchers tell their friends while associations use other tools, such as websites and job boards.
- About half of both groups text daily but neither indicated a desire to receive text messages from their associations.
- About three-fourths never or only occasionally visit their association’s website.
Overall the association professionals surveyed were younger than the farmers/ranchers and the results show how different tactics need to be taken when talking to a certain audience.
But when in doubt, ask your audience directly. Communication will be easier if you are providing information in the way they want to receive it, and most members want to give you this feedback.Check out more key points from the surveys and presentation: