Posted on May 17, 2017
Comments Off on Millennials vs Baby Boomers: A New Paradigm for Leadership is Coming
Currently, the workforce is largely made up of baby boomers – a population defined as being born in the post-War era from 1946 to 1965. For millennials, these people are our parents, relatives, and elders who currently range from the ages of 50-69, and make up a total of 27% of the population (Parkinson, McFarland et al 2017). There is no denying that baby boomers have been in the workforce for decades, acquiring valuable knowledge and expertise that employers have grown accustomed to. These are leaders that have developed leadership skills in a workforce that revolves around a traditional hierarchy and structured workplace environment. However, the reality is that in the coming years, baby boomers will be leaving the workforce as they move towards retirement, making room for millennials to change the status quo.
This is a transformational time as the aging workforce gets ready to leave decades of experience behind. With that comes a change in management and leadership, as millennials seek to achieve success in vacant job opportunities. Currently, millennials make up over 33% of the workforce and are making conscious efforts to prepare themselves to step into the existing leadership roles set up by baby boomers (Browning 2014). This is a prime time to shine light on modern dynamics in the workplace, where millennials are given the chance to introduce a new set of skills in a soon-to-be collaborative learning environment. These changing demographics will give young leaders the opportunity to operate, manage, and strengthen companies with appropriate training and mentoring from existing employees. This encourages growth and development in the workplace as young leaders embark on their careers and establish newfound roles of responsibility.
The most important aspect comes down to how companies can embrace this change and adapt for the future. Companies need to be proactive to make this generational swap and take measures in transferring the skills and knowledge of baby boomers to the incoming wave of millennials. One of the incoming strengths obtained by the younger demographic is their ability to be open to innovative ideas and work in flexible and unstructured workplaces. Unlike baby boomers, their management and leadership style focuses more on partnerships, social connections, and collaboration (Boitnott 2016). To prepare for this gap, it is important that companies make the connection between baby boomers and millennials to capture the institutional knowledge from decades ago and transfer that to new employees. This is a change that needs to be positively embraced, especially since most of the national population will be retired in the next decade. The mentality of command and control in the workplace is going to eventually be replaced as millennials change the way companies operate and do business. By adopting and implementing a collaborative working environment, both baby boomers and millennials can benefit from existing talent before they completely leave the workforce.