Succeeding with Five Generations in the Workplace


For the first time in history, there will be five generations in the workplace! Five! This broad range in age and experience brings both opportunity and threat to organizations.  How your organization works to balance the generational differences can be the difference between reaching your goals and failing projects!

Here at SHRM’s Diversity & Inclusion Conference & Exposition in Boston, MA, I had the opportunity to attend Sonia Aranza’s presentation, “Cross Generational Competencies: How to Get Multi-generations to Work Effectively with One Another.” Aranza made an excellent point: understanding the difference in generations is not about “Can we all get along?” it is about “Can we do business together?”

It is important that organizations understand the generational differences in order to ensure that each generation has the working conditions where they do their best work! In a simple, but telling exercise, Aranza had the audience break into smaller groups. The goal of the exercise was to name the song and artist for the songs she would play. The songs came from different generations, so the more generations that were in the individual group – the better the team did with the game. This exercise is a small example of how multigenerational teams in the workplace DO benefit your business.

How can you be sure that you are leading successful multi-generational teams? The place to start is with yourself – you need to understand your own issues before you can work with other generations. You need to learn about the different generations. What is their best work environment? How do they want to collaborate with others – face-to-face or virtually?  You must learn about the different generations because you can’t manage what you don’t know.

Aranza reminds us that:

  •   Everyone wants to succeed!
  •   Everyone wants to feel valued!
  •   Everyone wants to be included!

“Inclusion = Engagement!”  When employees are engaged, the workplace succeeds!

To learn more about Sonia Aranza visit




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