Future Of Work: Research Shows Millennials, Gen Xers And Baby Boomers Make Better Decisions Together

from Forbes

Is it better to have “up-and-comers” or “more seasoned” employees making decisions at your company?

It turns out the best answer is a mix of generations, and it’s a wake-up call to companies everywhere, from a tech industry enamored of young workers to global enterprises managing large aging workforces:

Decision-making teams that include a wide range of younger _and_ older employees significantly outperform more narrowly young or old teams. These multi-generation teams are more likely to identify better choices and deliver results that meet or exceed expectations.

Let’s see why.

More here.

16 Responses to Future Of Work: Research Shows Millennials, Gen Xers And Baby Boomers Make Better Decisions Together

  1. Gabrielle Pietanza April 12, 2018 at 4:53 pm #

    The results this article produces does not surprise me at all. It is no secret that the most creative, and arguably best, ideas come out of groups that are from different backgrounds. Be it age, sex, ethnicity, or any other factor, diversity contributes greatly to the success of a group and project. When there is a group made up of people that are all the same with the same background there is little deviation of thought. The ideas one comes up with to an extend are interchangeable with another. Individuals from different generations however have different backgrounds and thus are able to contribute to the product in a different and specific way.

    The article stated the importance of both age groups perfectly. With a mix of generations there is the wisdom of experience plus the creativity of youth. Multi-generation decision teams it was proven have more than twice as many positive outcomes. Narrow age ranges appear to hinder teams while wide age ranges let to expectations being exceeded.

    With that said I believe it important that companies take this information into account when designing products and in all the respective business they do. Older groups may not remember to include the voices of their younger counterparts while developing and the same goes for the younger teams. Although a single aged teams do produce positive results, groups spanning generations are obviously much more successful.

  2. Gabrielle Pietanza April 12, 2018 at 7:41 pm #

    The results this article produces does not surprise me in the slightest. It is no secret that the most creative, and arguably best, ideas come out of groups that are from different backgrounds. Be it age, sex, ethnicity, or any other factor, diversity contributes greatly to the success of a both a group and their respected project at hand. When there is a group made up of people from the same background there tends to be little deviation of thought. The ideas one comes up with to an extend are interchangeable with another. Individuals from different generations however have different backgrounds and thus are able to contribute to the product in a different and specific way.

    The article stated the importance of both age groups when working on projects perfectly. With a mix of generations there is the wisdom of experience that comes with the older generation, plus the creativity of the youth. Multi-generation decision teams it was proven have more than twice as many positive outcomes. The narrow age ranges appear to hinder teams while wide age ranges let to expectations being exceeded. It has been proven time and time again that groups of individuals produce more ideas than individuals alone. People from different backgrounds have different opinions and people of different ages by definition have experienced different events in different ways. That is why more creative products come from groups with individuals of different ages.

    With that said I believe it important that companies take this information into account when designing products and in all aspects of the respective business they do. Older groups may not remember to include the voices of their younger counterparts while developing and the same goes for the younger teams. Although single aged teams do produce positive results, groups spanning generations are obviously much more successful. They are more inclusive and keep in mind individuals of all ages. This practice should be put into effect in a variety of capacities. Be it group work, product designing, marketing, etc., when it comes to all aspects of a project creativity has been proven to flow strongly across generations.

  3. John Mundia April 13, 2018 at 8:35 am #

    The results and implications of this study are intriguing to me. In my short experience working within a business setting, younger professionals are typically given less important jobs and tasks to accomplish. While those with experience tend to have the harder more rigorous tasks and more important jobs. Perhaps in our society, we trust those we have known longer with the more sensitive jobs. Maybe the opposite is also true, maybe we do not trust younger professionals to do the same jobs as older ones. Whether it is a matter of trust or simply the way people have been operating businesses for decades, that norm seems to be in question.

    The results imply that the creativity of younger workers and the wisdom of experienced workers is a mix that really helps businesses in the long run. Younger workers tend to have more creative ways of solving issues that they are faced with. That creativity compiled with the operational and technical experience and wisdom create a very productive and efficient group. If perfected this new way of structuring groups may lead to a brighter future.

    Like all new ideas, this is likely to be met with opposition. The major opposition may come from older generations. It may seem as if they have been demoted or put in a position that is not for them. That opposition seems like it would mainly come from a sense of pride. However, if they were to put pride aside then it would be apparent which system works best for everyone involved.

  4. Luke Nadolny April 13, 2018 at 11:36 am #

    The results of this study speaks to the masses of applicants and employees of different ages. With each generation comes different viewpoints and seeing that the viewpoints vary between ages, it brings much more diversity to the table when discussing matters. In the study, it revealed that more generations together bring in better work performance because more viewpoints, more compromise, more knowledge of the situation. This is the best way to work in groups and the information given can bring new opinions and more knowledge to light on certain situations. The more information one can know, the wiser you will be walking into a conversation and offering insight on the matters. When more diverse groups come together it can be seen as poetry in motion. Everyone in the group can contribute to a certain project that will make everyone happy in the process, or at least for the time being. That being said, certain jobs require certain credentials, and some credentials can only be achieved through experience. When a younger employee takes on a project they do not have as much knowledge about than someone who has worked on that idea for a longer amount of time, the preferred choice to take on the project would be the more experienced worker. One example of the viewpoints of a group showing through, is the recent case with Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg, the CEO of the company, got off easy with his hearing in Congress because since he is well versed in technology and social media, he could answer anything about the issue. While the members of Congress, about average age of 57, are not as knowledgeable in this are as someone who is well versed. So these situations call for certain groups of people who know what they are doing. However for group projects, as many people as you can get for the job, is the best way to go about doing things because more knowledge is more power.

  5. Jacob Abel April 13, 2018 at 12:43 pm #

    After reviewing the results of this study I have to say that I am not surprised by the results. The common stereotypes of older people are that they have a lot of experience and tend to be more cautious in their decision making. The opposite can be said about younger generations which are said to be much more energetic and willing to take risk. So it makes sense then that younger and older generations would work very well together as their best qualities tend to compliment one another. The experience of older generations allows younger generations to make better decisions.
    Now in applying to this every companies business model I think this could change how companies do business. The job market for Millennials would probably shrink just due to the fact companies may want more of a diversified group of people working for them. However as the article notes younger people when working in teams do have a tendency to out perform older groups of people. I would also be interested to see how these mixed groups work together in person and if younger people would tend to cede decision making to older people and how the power dynamics of the group would work.

  6. Daniel Colasanto April 13, 2018 at 3:38 pm #

    I’ve never seen so many comments begin with the word “results”.

    As businesses expand and plan to establish an edge over other companies, studies have shown that a mix of generations working together on a team are more likely to meet or exceed expectations 73% of the time. When compared to younger teams and older teams, multi-generation decision teams were two times more likely to meet or exceed expectations. Forbes claims this should be a big wake up call for companies across the countries and all over the world.
    Research showed that older teams were less likely to consider younger viewpoints while younger teams were very likely to include one or more older viewpoints. Nonetheless, it is not that only young or only older teams get bad results, it’s just that decision teams that have a wider range of ages get better results.
    The outcome of this study makes sense in my opinion. It’s logical that a team with a more diverse culture would breed more success. For the younger generations provide creative and ambitious goals while at the same time the older generations are weeding out what ideas are realistic and offering their knowledge and experience too. Age diversity brings a broader range of perspectives and skills. Businesses that do not capitalize on these new findings will fall behind fast and lose their competitive edge. Companies that cultivate diverse teams that embrace new and old thinking, promote various work attitudes, and consider different learning patterns will be at the forefront of innovation in the next years to come.

  7. Sebastien Jose Fortes April 13, 2018 at 8:48 pm #

    The problem with society today is the common notion that you have to pick a side and stick to every single aspect of it, or else you’ll be labeled a hypocrite. Examples include Republicans supporting the LGBTQ+ community, or Democrats advocating for capitalism. The article above refers to the division between Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers.
    The article says that firms function best with a staff of diverse generations, and cites statistics that agree with this. As someone on the line between generations Y and Z (born 1999), I think this is the best way to go.
    The difference between individual decision-making and teamwork is that one person cannot come even close to a perfect conclusion. Individuals may not immediately understand the struggles of people they have never met, and may make hasty decisions.
    Observe these two-sided examples.
    A straight person does not know how a gay person goes about their day. Gay people have few people to turn for advice to without judgement, especially on, say, a Roman Catholic campus, even after so many years of progression toward social equality.
    Meanwhile, women don’t usually know what’s on the male mind. Men are often raised to think that the concept of facing emotions head-on is emasculating, and therefore bottle up their thoughts.
    A millennial, then, would have no idea what Cold War America felt like. The novel The Catcher in the Rye has become less popular in classrooms, as teens today usually have more people to relate to. However, a Boomer may have no concept of rising college tuition prices, or the constant fear of school shootings.
    The problem is that we have begun to devalue communication. Single life is on the rise, social media memes devalue friendships in favor of staying indoors, and people (still) prefer passive-aggressiveness over talking about each other’s problems.
    If, however, people chose to communicate, we could get somewhere. It would be absurd to decide whether or not to hire people on account of their generation, but if the job-hiring process had checks and balances, we could achieve proper diversity.
    An example would be a divider that obscures the identity of an interviewee, including their race, age, or gender. This method would not be perfect, but it could help.

  8. Daniel Schreier April 14, 2018 at 1:37 pm #

    This article from Forbes is really interesting and I happen to agree with it, because when there are more perspectives and opinions about the same issue, usually people have a better understanding of the situation as a whole, and thus, are able to make a more assertive decision. As such, is important to have people, who work a long time for the company, and are from an older generation, thus, having more life experience and being able to relate to similar situations in the past and what happened when certain decisions were made. It is important as well to have younger people, which have less life experience, but are most likely more up-to-date with what is trending in the world, especially relating to new technology advancements, new solutions which are coming up, and perhaps, most importantly, they have a more accurate understanding of the market, because usually they are the market which heavily consumes, along with their peers. Still, it would be very soft for me only to relate different people making decisions based only on the age criteria. It is important to have people from the most backgrounds as possible, including different race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion and many others, since they can all relate with their personal experiences and overall, decide which action is better for the company to take. However, even with all this diverse background, I still believe it is important to have some sort of hierarchy, which would be important in order for the process of making a decision to be run as smooth and as efficient as possible. If there isn’t a firm leadership the process easily can be ruined with so many people who think different, as there would be “too many chefs in the kitchen”, and the company would not be efficient, and thus, losing money. Thus, I believe the future of businesses will be people from different backgrounds working together and making a difference. Diversity is not only including minorities in society, but also giving those opportunities and doing so, improving the world’s economy by smoothing processes and having a more complete looking on the situation.

  9. Timothy Guerrero April 16, 2018 at 11:47 am #

    I don’t necessarily find it surprising that companies have found having a range of diversity, especially amongst generations, have resulted in better decision making for the company and its efficiency. I say this for a number of reasons, and first, want to use the recent testimony of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, and CEO, to the United States Congress. A large majority of the United States Senate is of an older age in retrospect to this situation, as when they were young, the Internet hadn’t even existed. This was exhibited by their fundamental lack of understanding and just blatantly ignorant questions asked to Zuckerberg in regards to data management, as they had no clue how it worked. Now say you throw in a dozen or two senators who happen to be in their twenties or thirties and are much more in the know-how of the new society emerging as a result of technological innovation. It would be fair to say there’d be more questions that would have Zuckerberg as the edge of his seat, and this parallel can be exemplified in a business setting as well. By having major decisions made by groups consisting of experienced vets and new, fresh minds connected to the precious millennial demographic, more success will be found as a result of connecting with vast generations and their tendencies and admirations. It’s similar to a sports team – you want those experienced in the playoffs mixed with the young, fresh and fast athleticism to win a Stanley Cup or Super Bowl. This is an ideal that should be embodied by corporations seeking to connect with an audience.

  10. Mark Marino April 17, 2018 at 1:02 pm #

    With the rise of millennials and generation X young adults come into the work force, there will be a transition period. Baby boomers are on the way out and the new wave of employees are flooding the work force. Different generations will have to work together to get their jobs done. At first glance, it may seem this is a bad idea or just a bad mix to have. Different ideas and concepts have been an issue with people within their generation let alone the introduction of a brand-new generation.
    Generation X and Millennials have grown up with technology and answers right on our finger tips. Meanwhile baby boomers have had to transition from the typewriter into an age of digital platforms and hardware. Even in the past 10 years, there has been a shift of many things done with pen and paper move onto online media. Industries have been revolutionized and efficiency has been maximized ten-fold. The introduction of the smartphone and tablets allows people to go mobile, being away from the office to complete tasks. This is a new concept for baby boomers who had to adjust to this new age of technology.
    Through research, it has been found that generations working together have allowed the work force to come up with more positive outcomes. The diversity of ideas and different suggestions introduced by young people can allow the older generation tweak or accept the ideas. The older generation is dissatisfied with what the younger generation is doing, but they tend to forget how they were as teenagers. The only difference is the widespread media access available today. The cell phone camera and social media has allowed anyone view what is on there. In their times, they only had photographs, or a news reporter live on the scene. The cell phone and other portable media has given the power to the people to record and stream what data they want at any time.

  11. Mary Margaret Miller April 18, 2018 at 9:08 pm #

    It is a necessity to have diversity in the workplace in order to fulfill and carry out full production. A company’s goal is to appeal to as many different audiences as possible, and in order to fulfill the demand, the company must employ individuals of all age ranges. Age discrimination in the workplace is an epidemic that is under recognized, and individuals both young and old must collaborate together for the company to work at full efficiency.
    Nowadays, companies either have a staff that is solely made up of millennials, or have a staff made up of much older individuals. However, when these two age groups merge together, they are able to form a better and more balanced team. By having executives of a company be in the older age range, they are therefore more experienced in the field, and are able to perform the tasks demanded better than an individual who is much younger and does not have this type of experience. It is essential for a business to keep their more experienced employees in higher positions being that they have a higher amount of knowledge and understanding of what the job entails. From the study portrayed in the article, we look toward our elders for advice and to reign us back in when a conflict arises. It has been proven that in workplaces that have older individuals oversee the company, they are able to problem solve in a better manner in comparison to a company that has a sole age group.
    However, by hiring younger individuals, a company is able to obtain more ideas that are current within today’s trends in society. Individuals of the older generations only seem to appeal to their generation when it comes to marketing to an audience, so it is more difficult for them to get in touch with the younger audience. The best way to stay on top in business is to keep up with the ongoing trends in society, and the best way to fully achieve this would be to hire younger individuals to help stimulate newer ideas. As good as it is to hire younger individuals, it is also important to recognize the older generations in the workforce as well. The older generations are the backbones of companies, meaning that their level of experience plays a highly significant role. The older generations ensure that younger generations continue to run the company with ethics in mind, in addition to the morals and standards the company has always followed. The morals and values of a company are those that always stay true and never change, which is why millennials must understand and respect the grounds that the company was created with.
    Success within a company all begins with its level of diversity. Diversity is what makes the employees of a company more willing to work, as well as making them feel that they have a greater sense of purpose within their company. For a company to run efficiently, management must listen to their employee’s input to understand what the company is doing right and wrong. Through feedback, the company can determine what they can do to make their company better for not just their employees, but for their consumers as well.

  12. Nathaniel Valyo April 19, 2018 at 12:06 pm #

    In retrospect, the main argument of this article seems fairly obvious. Simply put, the more diverse a group is, the more positive outcomes there are because of each individual member’s different backgrounds and viewpoints. The process is very similar to higher education, and how universities will go to great lengths to accept students who come from minority backgrounds to ensure a diverse student body because there is knowledge to be gained that cannot be taught in a classroom easily. Just within my first year here at Seton Hall, I have learned so much about cultures I hadn’t even thought of before just from talking to the people around me.

    The same philosophy holds true in the workplace. We learn more and get more accomplished when we are receiving knowledge and input from a wide variety of sources; this article touches on age differences in the workplace specifically. The younger members of the group benefit from the experience and wisdom from the older members, and the older members of the group benefit from the creativity and stronger connection with the current cultural environment from the younger members. Possessing wisdom, experience, creativity and a strong sense of where the culture is and where it is headed towards make a group invaluable to a company when a major decision has to be made. Both parties bring something incredibly beneficial to the table.

    A majority of the Baby Boomers have little to no experience with technology and computers simply because they did not grow up with them, whereas the Millennials and Gen Xers grew up surrounded by technology and adapted quickly. My dad, for example, knows absolutely nothing about computers and technology in general because he has never been in a position where he needed to know how. My sisters and I, however, are much more capable of adapting to the rapid change in technology fields because we grew up with computers, video game consoles, fancy TVs, and the like. Even though my siblings and I are much more technologically advanced than our dad, my dad has wisdom and experience beyond his years, which my siblings and I benefit from on a daily basis. While my family is not a business, the same philosophy still applies; each age group has something to bring to the table, and those gifts and talents should be combined instead of separated. The more diverse a group is, the better off everyone is.

  13. JERRY WU April 19, 2018 at 3:50 pm #

    I certainly found the results to this study to be interesting to me. Even though I have very little experience in business settings, I know for a fact that those with more experience have more important jobs in the industry. In my opinion, the results that were given showed that both the creativity of young workers and knowledge of more experienced workers helped shape businesses in the long run. Younger workers always seem to have the more creative ways of solving issues while the more experienced workers seemed to have the more quick-witted and traditional way of doing business. I feel that both types of workers are needed in today’s society, as the business industry continues to grow in both aspects.

  14. Daniel Kim April 19, 2018 at 8:28 pm #

    When I first read this, I was not surprised to find that the multi-generational teams make better decisions together. I always intuitively thought that a team full of different people from diverse backgrounds performs better than that of like-minded individuals. From having multiple perspectives, this type of environment allows teams to make better-informed decisions, no matter the situation. In general, diversity often inspires creativity, which is a much-needed asset in today’s workforce. Now, a country’s economic strength is from innovations that led to successful enterprises such as Facebook and Amazon. For the longest time, the United States remained the top dog of innovation. However, according to the latest Bloomberg report in 2018, the United States surprisingly dropped out of the top 10 in innovation ranking (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-22/south-korea-tops-global-innovation-ranking-again-as-u-s-falls). With the current political situation, we are no longer the leading figure in the fight against climate change. China took over that role (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/22/donald-trump-success-helps-china-emerge-as-global-climate-leader). At the same time, South Korea remained the dominant global innovating nation for five years in the row with Samsung receiving “more U.S. patents in the 2000s than any firm except International Business Machines Corp.” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-22/south-korea-tops-global-innovation-ranking-again-as-u-s-falls)
    These current events show that the United States is not the top country in the world anymore. In order to be relevant in this rapidly changing world, the United States needs to revamp its education system and workforce to meet the changing global demand. As we are in need of new ideas, collaboration is going to play an integral role in facilitating ideas into reality. On the business side, it means creating a more efficient and convenient method of providing customer service to introducing a new iPhone that exceeds all expectation. Of course, companies have been trying to become friendly to new ideas and collaboration on different levels. Interestingly, the Harvard Business Review article in 1994 discussed the difficulties of businesses to fully go green (https://hbr.org/1994/07/the-challenge-of-going-green). Therefore, people already have ideas on how to push forward. Then it is the question of having the right measures to implement those changes. However, this means we have to deal with the politics.
    The fundamental issue of public-private partnership has always revolved around trust. For every political cycle, a new administration always has its own agendas that it wants to pursue. However, this means that a business agreement between the previous administration and corporations may no longer exist or be relevant. The Trump administration repeatedly threatened to end the DACA program and other Obama’s led initiatives. (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-daca-dreamers-programme-scrapping-blocked-judge-young-immigrants-barack-obama-a8150761.html)
    In today’s world, we need collaboration with everyone to solve some of the biggest challenges and to meet clients’ ever-growing demands, no matter what they are. It starts with an open dialogue with the relevant parties involved. In this case, inter-generational workers will have to work together to solve future problems.

  15. Ryan Mack April 19, 2018 at 9:51 pm #

    Generally, people think that the older and wiser generations always make the better decisions as opposed to the younger generation. On the flip side, there are some instances where some feel the younger generation who just earned their degrees and began their careers make better decisions because they just learned it all and can work textbook. A recent study conducted and analyzed by Forbes found that a group with a combination of older and younger generations made the best decisions, ones yielding positive outcomes. They also found that overall, in each age group, decisions made by teams yielded better results than those made solely by individuals. In the younger teams where the median age was below 35, decision outcomes met or exceeded expectations 60 percent of the time while decision outcomes for older teams, where the median age was above 45, met or exceeded expectations 44 percent of the time. Now, one could speculate that it’s possible the older teams had to take on tougher problems to decide on or on the other hand, it’s possible the energy of younger teams significantly affected the results, but it’s a different story when you look at the results of how the outcomes are affected when the age groups are combined. Multi-generation decision teams were found to have had more than twice as many positive outcomes. The multi-generation teams consisted of an age range spanning 25 or more years and the decisions made met or exceeded expectations 73 percent of the time while those with a narrower range of less than 10 years did so only 35 percent of the time. Sometimes it’s better to have a combination so you can get the best of both worlds for the most positive result. Combining experience with youth seems to be the best way to do it. The study also found that older decision teams were less likely to include younger people and viewpoints into the decision making team and process, but younger teams were more likely to include single or multiple older teams members. Most, if not all, companies want the best results coming from their decisions regardless of who in terms of age was involved in it. To achieve this they need to break down the barrier and solve the “cross-generation challenge”. According to the Forbes article that talks about the study, people belonging to each of the working generations have similar career goals, work attitudes and learning patters, and it’s our biases, not our differences that are the biggest barriers that inhibit the formation if multi-generation teams. It seems that when we have a choice of who to work with, we work with people similar to us, including in age. Another way to combine the generations in the growing age diverse workplace is through the utilization of technology. It helps push people in a better direction and helps them to avoid their unconscious bias. I think this is a good idea. Technology has always been developed and used to solve yesterday’s problems and if strong collaboration between different generations and expertise is the best way to get work done, companies should certainly work toward achieving the goal of getting them to work together through the means of technology.

  16. Adam Facella April 20, 2018 at 1:36 pm #

    I was not surprised by the outcome of the research done by the group. I think that I would be more surprised if there were better outcomes for people all of the same group. You need to have a different group of people coming from different places and different generations to have a mass of different perspectives to be the most successful. There are different qualities of workers depending on their ages. I was not surprised by statistic which said that older decision teams were 10 times less likely to include younger viewpoints. I think that this is due to a seniority position and the older generations taking the younger generations less seriously. However on the flip-side the younger generations are more likely to include the ideals of the older.

    One study that the author refers to from BCG says that manager afe diversity has a negative impact on company innovation, but every other part is positive. Once again this is because there are different perspectives and skills coming out from each of the age groups.

    The author concludes his article saying that we prefer working with similar people and this includes people of our own age. This is something that I know holds true in my past experiences working along with school. At my job I know that I interact with my co-workers who are the similar age of me. Also in school I prefer working on an assignment with someone who is the same age as me because if they are older there is an intimidation factor which the author touches upon. I feel like all of the statistics have to do with human nature more than anything else about what makes an individual comfortable.

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