Last Updated Jun 11, 2008 4:49 AM EDT
The Find: Between the feature package on managing Gen Y and the vehement reaction to Sean Silverthorne's post about Gen X being unhappy at work, generational conflict has been getting a lot of attention on BNET lately, but a new study suggests all this inter-generational angst may simply be a result of a failure to talk to each other.
The Source: The 2008 edition of Randstad USA's annual "World of Work" survey.
It might be tempting to blame the situation on the infuriating narcissism and ridiculous expectations of the frequently bad mouthed Gen Y, but the survey suggests differently. Rather than having high expectations of their employers, Gen Y workers set the bar lower than older generations and their expectations are only decreasing. A chart from Randstand sets out how important various soft benefits are to the different generations, as well as the changes in Gen Y's expectations:
|Soft Benefits||Gen Y and Decline since 2006||Gen X||Baby Boomers||Matures|
|Satisfying work||59%, -21||65%||71%||81%|
|Pleasant work environment||57%, -28||69%||70%||82%|
|Liking the people they work with||57%, -17||65%||62%||70%|
|Challenging work||42%, -17||52%||59%||71%|
|Flexible hours||44%, -11||48%||51%||46%|
The findings are worrying. Considering the coming talent crunch as Boomers retire, how will the essential knowledge of your most experience workers get passed along to younger team member if they don't speak to each other? But the results also suggest a solution- simply creating more opportunities for these two groups to rub shoulders and interact. They also suggest that spending some time in the workplace will bring Gen Y's expectations more in line with reality.
The Question: How often do the generations get a chance to interact in your office?