Technological and social change has moved so quickly in the last several decades that the “generation gaps” loom larger than ever. Today, legal departments must work with and provide services to members of at least three diverse generations. Each generation approaches information and problem-solving differently, and flexibility in working with members of each generation is key in providing effective advocacy and counsel.
These generations and their major concerns include:
- The Boomers. Baby Boomers or “Boomers” were born in the post-World War II years, from approximately 1946 to 1964. They tend to be work-centric, believing it is important to “pay one’s dues” in order to gain promotions, advancement, and respect. They’re also independent and self-reliant; having grown up in an era of reform, they believe hard work and focusing on goals makes it possible to change the world. They are not afraid of confrontation and they will not hesitate to challenge established practices. Knowing why a recommendation is made is key for Boomers.
- Generation X. Members of Generation X were typically born between 1965 and 1980. They came of age in an era of two-income families, rising divorce rates, and a faltering economy, meaning that these “latch-key” kids developed independence and self-sufficiency by caring for themselves and setting their own work and play hours. They’re technologically adept, having come of age as the U.S. transitioned from a manufacturing to a service economy. Unlike Boomers, they tend to eschew work for work’s sake in favor of flexibility and a strong work-life balance, and they’re more willing to give up promotions if they can have the space to pursue their own projects.
- Millennials. The Millennials, also known as “Generation Y,” were born in the 1980s and later. They make up the youngest section of the workforce and its fastest-growing segment. Members of this generation grew up with technology and rely on it to work more productively and effectively. Although they value a work-life balance as much as Generation X, their achievement-oriented attitude drives them to seek out challenges and meaningful work – like the Boomers, they need to know why recommendations or rules are made. Unlike previous generations, however, Millennials tend to thrive on feedback and guidance. They appreciate being kept “in the loop” and benefit strongly from mentoring.
At Assigned Counsel, our experienced staffing partners can help you find the help you need when you need it. Contact Assigned Counsel today.