The Differences Between Managing Baby Boomers and Millennials

There is a saying about how times are continually changing, and that has never been truer than in the workplace in the past decade. The baby boomers are retiring, and the millennials are stepping into the workforce to take those vacant positions. However, there are considerable differences in the way managers can expect to handle the new employees because the philosophies and aspirations of both groups are very distinct. Here are just some of the differences you may find between the two groups.


The baby boomers were willing to work for long hours, and in return, they expected their company to support them with benefits and compensation packages. The optimistic boomers also worked well alone and under strict management structures. Eyal Gutentag believes the millennials as a group are different in almost every aspect. With their love of technology, they enjoy working in teams, and since most are highly educated and self-confident, they look for advancement and recognition over long-term company structure. If managers want to hire the best and brightest of this age group, they must change the way they approach hiring practices, as well as compensation packages.


For the most part, baby boomers are an optimistic group that sees the future in terms of positivity. They believe working for what they want will get them where they want to be. Millennials are socially minded, eco-friendly, planet loving individuals that believe they have inherited a world of social, economic, and global problems. Because they are constantly informed and inundated with information about the world around them, they have grown up believing they need to fix the problems and save the earth to ensure they have a future. This makes managing millennial’s time more difficult for supervisors because positive feedback and variation in jobs are essential to keep the short attention spans of this generation active.


The millennial group is a goal and target setting generation. Researchers claim that it is because of the plugged-in world that has surrounded them since birth. Video games are part of their world, and individuals constantly wanted the next treasure chest or to advance to the next level of the game – and that desire transferred to their work world. There are other ways the two groups differ, as well. While baby boomers left the office for the peace of hearth and home that was away from the working world, the millennials enjoy making their home the office where they can work irregular hours. Boomers look for higher pay to fill self-esteem on the job, while the millennial group would rather have free meals, days off, and shorter working hours. Boomers want to accomplish tasks on their own and receive credit for a job well done, but millennials would rather share the glory in a group collaboration of a project.

If a manager wants to handle both groups successfully, the differences between each age group must be identified. Happy employees make for a successful business, and learning how to keep both groups happy may take two very different types of strategies. One thing is for sure, managers know the world is changing.

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