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How to… manage a multi-generational workforce

At this year’s Congress, IBMS Deputy Chief Executive Sarah May delivered a session on multi-generational workforces. Here are some of her thoughts on the generations. We also hear from three scientists from different age groups.

 …on baby boomers

“They are the original ‘it’s-all-about-me’ generation. They are motivated by (and protective of) career, status and money. They have strong work ethics, which is a hangover from the previous generation, and they like face-to-face meetings and details – they don’t like waffle. Don’t regard them as blocking the upcoming millennials who are coming through, rather regard them as bringing experience and stability to a workforce that is going through change.”    

…on generation x

“These are often our managers and senior managers and it is with this generation that we start to see the rise of the dual-income family – they are the original ‘latchkey kids’. They are self reliant, which is a product of how they were raised, and they are the first generation of job-jumpers and will go to work wherever is best for them. They are straightforward people who are sceptical and questioning and they don’t like being messed around. They can be quite hard managers.”  

…on millennials

“They are our future. They can achieve anything that they want to and are open and diverse. They are the first Internet generation and are going to come at us with lots of different ideas. They have a completely different way of thinking. They want flexible ways of working and a healthier work-life balance. They like flexible schedules, are socially conscious and are natural collaborators. The NHS has enjoyed a lot for free from previous generations, which it may not get from millennials. But if you figure out what they like and stimulate them, you have a very creative, hard-working group.”

 …on generation z

“They will be coming in as your trainees – they are very good multi-taskers and are going to be a huge asset. They are constantly communicating and expect instant access to information. They are the products of over-protective generation x parents and you should hold them accountable for their work. Make it clear what you expect for them and the quality of work that is required. Real life and the real world can seem harsh to them. The best way to treatthem is to pay them attention, show respect and assume that they want todo a good job.”   

Matthew Burdett

What matters most to me about the workplace and workforce is that the workers are able to own up to their mistakes, build upon them and 
to reflect on them to grow.

Generation x
Emma Vctory

The most important thing for me is that my work helps others – by teaching students, training scientists, and providing a high-quality diagnostic service.

Baby Boomer
Chris Chase

What matters to me in my current role as Pathology Education and Training Manager is ensuring that we strive for a sustainable and qualified workforce for the future.

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Picture Credit | iStock

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