Each Generation Has Different Social Needs At Work


Baby Boomers = SUPER SOCIAL

Baby Boomers are, by their very nature, predominantly face-to-face social. Don't forget this is the generation of block parties and "at homes" when young people returned on college breaks. Boomers had another reason to get social with their new workmates, though! Due to the massive size of the generation (three times that of the generation prior to theirs), job availability in the town you were born in was in higher demand. Suddenly people found themselves having to move to different towns and states to find work. What better way to acclimate to a totally new town than socializing with the people you already spend 8-hours a day with. You’ll find them frequently requesting company holiday parties, picnics, cocktail hours, corporate retreats/off-sites and the like. Meetings also give a feel of socialization to your work day and, as you might have noticed, those have raised dramatically since the Boomers took charge. 



GenXers seem to be far more anti-social. Those middle-managers groan at the thought of having to spend MORE than the 8 required hours of the day with their co-workers and seem eager to bolt out of the door to take their children to whatever practice they’re up to these days. Much of this is due to the sheer volume of latch-key kids who "handled their own business" from 3pm-8pm when parents finally came home. 

GenXers are the biggest advocates of work-life balance and will frequently use "my kid has a basketball game, ballet recital, dentist appointment," as a way of getting out of the Boomer's social events.  The problem is they often still find themselves having to plan them. Many GenXers have stated in focus group sessions that they don't need to have friends at work, or even like their boss, in order to continue working at their jobs.  They also plan to return the second they are eligible. 


People often (incorrectly) assume that Millennials are very social. Especially since “social media” is so prevalent in their generation. However, our research has clearly shown that Millennials are better at being virtually social than face-to-face social and prefer to socialize with their small friend groups as opposed to larger networking boomer-hosted events. It is not uncommon for Millennials to have 1,000+ "friends" or "followers" on their social media accounts,and only have 3-4 close friends that they "hang out with". Millennials seem to prefer apps and programs that allow them to be social via instant messenger, video chatting, GroupMe, and Google doc shared documents. 

In recent surveys (Jan 2018) we’ve begun to see a re-emergence of a desire to socialize face-to-face with workplace colleagues in 19-23 year olds entering the workplace. Our research has shown, however, that they want to socialize with people of ALL age-groups at these events, and not just within their own age group. 

It is FREQUENTLY shown that Millennials are wanting mentors in their workplaces. 

genWHY believes its important for organizations to know that different generations (and even personality types) are more or less prone to need social aspects of their jobs to find it satisfying and fulfilling.  Companies should consider these needs when developing corporate culture events.