Celebrating generational differences

Celebrating generational differences

Every generation brings something to the farm

There is a lot of talk about the negative traits associated with every generation. Millennials feel entitled and have a short attention span. Generation X doesn’t like to work overtime. Baby Boomers are workaholics. Traditionalists aren’t tech-savvy.

In contrast, each generation brings valuable skills and traits to the farm. Understanding that there are varying motivations for everyone regardless of generation, but taking generational differences into account can help guide workplace interactions. Utilize this information to tailor your approaches and make the most of every generation!

Traditionalists: Born 1945 or earlier

Handwritten notes or a quick email? Generational groups have different preferences.

Traditionalists are the oldest members of the workforce. Their extended work careers gives them applied knowledge. Recognize their experience and the value that brings to the farm. Traditionalists believe you need to work hard in order to achieve and prefer a more formal working environment and communication style, such as written memos.

Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964

Boomers are not afraid of long work hours and have a strong work ethic and commitment. They like to communicate in person and still appreciate the value of hand-written notes and letters.

Generation X: Born 1965 – 1980

Xers strongly value work/life balance and are masters at finding efficient ways to accomplish tasks. This generation is more informal than the two older generations, and tends to prefer email and phone calls for communication.

Generation Y: Born 1981 – 2000

Generation Y, or Millennials, are confident, tech-savvy multi-taskers. They seek out constant feedback because they have a curious, goal-oriented entrepreneurial spirit. Gen Y members are very comfortable texting, messaging and using social media.

Generation Z: Born After Millennials

This generation is so new that there is no exact agreement on the range of birth dates. Some state Gen Z starts in the mid to late 1990s, while others say 2000s. Never the less, this generation will be the next to enter the workforce and you can expect some changes. This is the first completely digitized generation that has always been connected to the internet and as expected, they are proficient in technology. Youth making up Gen Z are diverse and are predicted to be independent thinkers and doers.  

Each generation has so much to teach the others. Instead of complaining about the differences, celebrate what’s unique about the generations. Multiple generations working together can create a stronger, more efficient farm.

Watch the AgCareers.com video series on generation differences for more information.

The opinions of Bonnie Johnson are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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