Your Multi-generational Workforce in 2024

by | Feb 19, 2024 | Blog

Multi-Generational Teamwork

Did you know your business could potentially employ 5 generations? People are retiring later and many younger folks are forgoing a college education and jumping into the workforce at an earlier age.

Here’s a snapshot of your potential multi-generational workforce:

  • Traditionalists: 1900-1945
  • Baby Boomers: 1946-1964
  • Generation X: 1965-1980
  • Millennials: 1981-1996
  • Generation Z: 1997-2015

Quite the melting pot, isn’t it? This type of diversity in age is beautiful to see, but can come with some challenges. The work ethic, value systems, communication styles, and skill levels each generation brings to their work vary greatly. They all have value to share but managers may find it difficult to get the entire team singing from the same sheet of music.

How do you create a culture of acceptance and openness on your team where everyone’s contributions are embraced when you’re talking to such a diverse audience?

Let’s take a look at what’s behind the challenges and examine some solutions.

Generational Stereotypes and Biases

Multi-generational teams offer a wonderful variety of thought and experience if you can help them overcome some stereotypes and biases. Here are some gross generalities that have been made about each generation.

  • Traditionalists are too old to learn anything new
  • Baby Boomers can’t handle advanced technology
  • Generation X’ers are focused only on their own career advancement
  • Millennials have been spoiled and can’t handle criticism
  • Generation Z’ers don’t really know how to talk to people since they grew up with cellphones and prefer texting over real conversations

While you might have heard these platitudes, has this been your experience as you’ve interacted with each generation individually? We’ll guess not. These assumptions are based on stereotypes not on facts, yet they can impair the smooth working of your team.

Creating a culture that appreciates the value each generation can bring to the workplace can be achieved by stripping away the perceived differences between them and seeking common ground, and what better place to find it than in their behavior and motivators.

Finding Behavioral Common Ground

Getting past the differences in a diverse group of people can be easy when you apply the right behavioral tool. A DISC Plus Team report is an excellent way to help a mixed age group bridge generational gaps.

DISC focuses on an individual’s behavior and highlights their strengths and potential weaknesses in these 4 categories:

D – Decisiveness
I – Interactiveness
S – Stabilizing
C – Cautiousness

* Note: The above terminology used to describe the D, I, S, and C was interpreted by Innermetrix. You may have seen or heard different words used to highlight the categories like Dominant, Influencing, Submissive, and Compliant or Dominance, influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. All of these variations highlight the same types of behavior based on the science first studied by Dr. William Marston. Innermetrix has chosen positive terms more appropriate to the current times.

If there are 2 people on your team who both have high scores in the Decisive category, they will act in quite similar ways even though they may be from different generations. When watching them work, you’ll notice they both have a propensity to be demanding, driving, and forceful in their decision making style.

Age won’t matter. Their similar behavioral traits will help them bond.

The same is true for higher I’s. They’ll both be gregarious, persuasive, and inspiring. In fact, you’ll have a hard time getting a word in edgewise they’ll be so eager to share.

Two higher S scorers will quietly enjoy each other’s company since they are both stable, patient, and likely excellent listeners.

Those scoring high in the C category will share a love of details, process, and data.

Having your team find common ground in their behavior is one way a DISC+ Team report smoothes a generational divide.

But that’s not all! The + in DISC+ adds a whole other dimension and opportunity for bonding between age-diverse team members.

Motivational Alignment Insights

Behavioral similarities can open the door to better communication between generations. Motivational insights help team members walk through that door… together.

The “plus” in DISC Plus refers to the second part of the assessment that asks questions about values and motivators. It’s determining what gets you out of bed in the morning when looking at these 7 categories:

  • Aesthetic – form and harmony
  • Economic – what is useful
  • Individualistic – independence and uniqueness
  • Political – power and control
  • Altruistic – service of others
  • Regulatory – structure and routine
  • Theoretical – discovery of truth

We are most motivated by our values. When sharing the results of a DISC Plus Team report with your group, the data can be sorted in such a way as to point out these commonalities.

Once known you can assign team members with similar values and motivators to projects that will get them excited.

A Baby Boomer and a Gen Z’er who share high Aesthetic scores will enjoy working together on a redesign of your office space.

A Millennial and Gen X’er whose top value is Altruistic would be excellent candidates to gather information for the team’s annual giving campaign.

Traditionalists typically make great mentors based on their depth of knowledge and skillset. If they happen to have a high Theoretical value seek a fellow high Theoretical from any of the generations.

Customize Your Data For The Best Results

The DISC Plus Team report allows for custom groupings, so it’s possible for a consultant to arrange the data by department or even by the 5 generations we’ve been discussing. If you wish to arrange the data by age group, we do recommend securing the permission of all of your team members.

However you organize the data, an effective DISC+ Team debrief will help you to overcome some of the generational stereotypes we touched on earlier. It can help you to:

  • Create a culture of mutual respect – Team members aligned on DISC and/or Values will develop a greater appreciation for the individual, not what they think their age says about them.
  • Improve communication – Finding common ground with others helps dissolve biased thinking and provides an opportunity for open sharing of thoughts and ideas.
  • Promote cross-generational collaboration – Nothing is more satisfying than seeing team members mentor each other.
  • Eliminate unconscious bias – Through this exercise you can point out to your team that not only may they be biased about their fellow team members, they may also exhibit bias toward people outside their team and even clients.

Every Generation Has Value

The DISC Plus Team report and debrief provides you with the opportunity to help your team learn to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses they all bring to the workplace regardless of their age. With this knowledge you can help them create an environment of inclusivity, appreciation, and collaboration.


Sign up for your Business Discovery Session with one of our DISC assessment specialists.