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17th August 2022

Generational Expectations in Today’s Workforce

Today’s active workforce comprises five different generations, working together towards shared economic and commercial goals. Each generation has its own unique set of traits and values. These influence their expectations, attitudes, priorities, and behaviours at work [1] which in turn create the need for organisations to adapt their approach to their workforce. This comes with its challenges, therefore, it is important to be aware of the generational expectations in the current workforce and how organisations can adapt to create an inclusive, age-diverse workplace.

Generational Expectations in Today’s Workforce 1A generation is defined as a group of individuals born around the same time; experiencing similar historical events and social changes [2]. This common experience can influence their behaviour and shape their values in a unique way, different from those of other generations.

The five different generations and their common values, traits, and expectations [3]:

Traditionalists  born between 1928 and 1945, they comprise of a small portion of the current workforce. They have experiences to share and may function as mentors to the younger workforce. They tend to have a strong work ethic with traditional values. Some may not be as comfortable working using non-traditional methods. They tend to value job security more than others.

Their expectations are [4]:

  • Good supportive manager
  • Job satisfaction
  • Rapport with colleagues
  • Working in a caring environment
  • Job fulfilment

Baby Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964. Those born in the early part of this cohort may have a traditional mindset. They tend to value an established hierarchy of responsibility and authority. They may expect to be promoted based on their seniority and loyalty [1]. They tend to be dedicated, diligent and self-motivated employees who value professional development opportunities.

Their expectations are [4]:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Quality of life
  • Supportive team
  • Good rapport with colleagues
  • Job fulfilment

Generation X are individuals born between 1965 and 1980. They tend to be more independent. They value flexible workplaces and a healthy work-life balance. Compared to other generations, Generation X employees tend to be more concerned about an uncertain future.

Their expectations are [4]:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Quality of life
  • Relationship with colleagues
  • Supportive manager
  • Job fulfilment

Generational Expectations in Today’s Workforce 2Generation Y also known as Millennials born between 1981 and 1996. They form a substantial portion of the current workforce. Generation Y are the first generation to grow up with personal technological advances. They value meaningful work that enables development and use their skillset creatively. They are result-oriented and use technology to make their work more efficient.

Their expectations are [4]:

  • Opportunities to gain experience and develop
  • Supportive team
  • Job satisfaction
  • Opportunity to use their skillsets
  • Guaranteed income
  • Career Progression
  • Caring work environment – Wellbeing/Psychological Safety

Generation Z – born between 1997 to 2015. This generation is beginning to enter the workforce. They have broad and innovative thinking and a global mindset. They tend to be able to adapt quickly to changes. They value honesty, authenticity, connectivity, and transparency from their employers. Furthermore, they prefer to have flexible working hours and seek an environment that prioritises social responsibility and diversity.

Their expectations are:

  • Mental health and well-being to be a priority
  • Job security
  • Diverse teams and equal opportunity
  • Transparency
  • Want their views to be considered

Of course within every generation there are exceptions where for example a Baby Boomer may see themselves as having the approach as someone from Generation x and so on.

Generational Expectations in Today’s Workforce 3

How can the intergenerational expectations be managed?

  • Awareness programmes: one way to manage intergenerational expectations is to have a companywide generational programme, which educates all employees about the unique characteristics of each generation. Having a training programme would enable all the employees to gain a better understating of the varied expectations of generations and flex their work style accordingly [1].
  • Opportunities for cross-generational mentoring: by pairing employees from different generations together can address the fears and suspicions that one generation has of the other. This can create a more collaborative workspace. Each generation can share skills and learn from each other. This will also work as a catalyst for relationships between the employees [5].
  • Tailoring leadership approaches: knowing your team’s expectations, understanding the needs of the employees, and tailoring your leadership approach would enable you to better support your employees.
  • Communications: lots of conflict between generations can be due to the communication gap. Therefore, having an open communication forum can help each other to talk about their preference openly. This mutual exchange of preference can strengthen the bond, trust, and respect that individuals from different generations have for one another [6].

How can Impact help?

Recruiting and retaining a multigenerational workforce can be a challenging experience, however, with appropriate interventions, we can create a high-performing multigenerational team. We at Impact can support you with these challenges via our range of services. We offer bespoke leadership and team development programmes that can support the team in understanding each other’s expectations creating an inclusive workplace. Our successful, tried and tested team development programmes cover topics such as psychological safety and communication styles. We can also support your organisation, teams, and leaders with topics such as ‘Building Resilience,’ ‘Leading Hybrid Teams’ and ‘Developing Talent Pipelines’. We offer you a range of psychometric tools to help your team members understand each other’s strengths. Coaching helps leaders explore their management style and how to adapt their style to meet the needs of the team. Coaching helps people to identify their strengths and development needs and plan for career changes and transition into retirement.

To find out more about how we can support you, talk to us here.

Helpful Resources

  1. Angeline, T. (2011). Managing generational diversity at the workplace: Expectations and perceptions of different generations of employees. African Journal of Business Management5(2), 249-255.
  2. Egerová, D., Komárková, L., & Kutlák, J. (2021). Generation Y and Generation Z Employment Expectations: A Generational Cohort Comparative Study from Two Countries. E&M Economics and Management, 24(3), 93–109. Doi: 10.15240/ tul/001/2021-03-00
  3. Sharma, D. (2022). 5 Generations in the Workplace: Their Values and Differences. Retrieved from:
  4. Murray, K., Toulson, P., & Legg, S. (2011). Generational cohorts’ expectations in the workplace: A study of New Zealanders. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 49(4), 476-493.
  5. Knight, R. (2014) Managing People from 5 Generations. Retrieved from:
  6. Waldman, E. (2021). How to Manage a Multi-Generational Team. Retrieved from: