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Understanding Generational Differences in the Workplace


For the first time in history, there are more Millennials than Baby Boomers in the workplace.

To effectively work together, it’s important that each generation understands the others. To do so, our team got together to discuss the values, desires, and motivations of each generation. Here’s what we discovered:


Identifying the Generations


Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial
  • Aged 53-71
  • 77 million
  • Aged 37-52
  • 65 million
  • Aged 20-36
  • 83 million


Work Ethic

Asked to describe their work ethic, here’s what each generation had to say about themselves:


Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial
  • Responsible
  • Dependable
  • Trustworthy
  • Work hard, play hard
  • Integrity
  • Work with sense of freedom
  • Flexibility
  • Balance


Leadership Preferences

We asked everyone to describe how to best lead their generation:


Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial
  • What is the goal?
  • Autonomy with accountability
  • Lead by example
  • Autonomous
  • Give me space
  • Collaboration in small teams is a plus


What motivates you? What makes you like to come to work?


Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial
  • Respect our knowledge
  • Recognition
  • Meaningful, challenging work
  • Fun, challenging work
  • Money
  • Feeling valued
  • Good atmosphere
  • Having a purpose
  • Flexibility to work in way that suits me/my personality


What do you appreciate about the other two generations?


Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial
  • Millennials – their different way of thinking
  • Gen X – their willingness to ask for what they want
  • Boomers – their knowledge
  • Millennials – the fact that they are tech savvy
  • Boomers – their loyalty
  • Gen X – their work ethic


What are the dos and don’ts of selling to your generation?


Baby Boomer Generation X Millennial

  • Be honest
  • Be direct
  • Provide sufficient info


  • Lie
  • Talk down to us

  • Be authentic
  • Give me the facts



  • Beat around the bush



  • Customize to my interests/likes
  • Have a functioning, well-designed website


  • Pressure us


Keys to working with each generation


Baby Boomers 

They’ve been around the block and want others in the workplace to value their knowledge. They want work that matters — for many, their work defines who they are. To get along with Baby Boomers, you need to respect their seniority in the workplace and value the knowledge they’ve gained through decades in the workforce.

Generation X

They want independence in the workplace. While they work hard, they value time with their family just as much (maybe even more). To get along with Generation X, you need to offer them a good work/life balance and ensure you are leading by example.


They value autonomy at work, but also like to collaborate in small teams. While they are the youngest in the workplace, they expect to be treated with the same respect as older generations. They are willing to work hard, but want to know that their work has a purpose. To get along with the Millennial generation, give them flexibility (like the opportunity to work remotely) and ensure that they work with the latest technology.


Contact Us

If you have questions or would like to learn more regarding our accounting and finance recruiting services, please contact us at info@exechunter.com.


Burchard & Associates provides a personal approach to accounting and tax recruitment for St. Louis and beyond. We are ready to listen to YOU.

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