Research has shown that these various generations define their values very differently. They also vary in their beliefs and their philosophy – how they solve problems, how they take risks, how they communicate, how they even relate to authority and how they relate to technology. For example, the current generation, they are what we usually refer to as the digital natives, along with the millennials. Today, a new school of thought and generational group is gaining popularity and transcends the norm pertaining to generational gaps: Perennials. The Perennials are a myriad of individuals who are of all ages, interests, races, and genders. They all have that creative inclination and curious nature in common; which is a powerful thing.
Having different generations in the world of work speaks to how we relate with one another, in spite of differences. The global workforce is changing daily, with many baby boomers retiring and many employers seeking to hire young innovative minds with a different perspective. Bringing the diversity conversation to bear is long overdue. Literature has shown that most organizations have a unique cross-section of generations and we find that each generation tends to view the other differently, based on their own life experiences and expectations.
Some of the research done over the years suggests that each generation has particular characteristics as listed below:
1925-1945 – Traditionalists: Adherence to rules, discipline, family focus, hard work, and trust in government.
1946-1964 – Baby Boomers: Anti-war, anti-governmental, equal rights, involvement, and personal gratification.
1965-1980 – Generation X: Balance, diversity, global mindset and lack of loyalty to an organization
1980-2000 – Millennials/Generation Y: Achievement, fun, civic duty, sociability, and self confidence
2001-2020 – Generation Z: Very pragmatic/realistic, appreciate diversity, optimistic, collaborative, believe in strong morals, achievement- focused, confident, highly self-esteemed, etc.
A Different Generational View:
The generational conversation has become a ubiquitous one with several articles and discussions being held on the difference between Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z. Several schools of thought have been shared on the generations’ impact in the workplace, what motivates them and how employers should treat them to get the best out of them. This begs the question of diversity and inclusivity (D&I) and how it comes to bear on generational gaps.
D&I conversations have mostly been about gender, race, religion and in some cases sexual orientation. The term perennials coined by Gina Pell, founder of The What; an online network with a vibrant community of women who connect, share, and learn through the lens of lifestyle and leadership, are described as “ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages”.
Perennials get involved, stay curious, mentor others, are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded and are risk takers. They continue to push up against their growing edge and know how to hustle. They comprise an inclusive, enduring mind-set, not a diverse demographic.
Perennials, also known as the “ageless generation” thus transcend the generational box and are individuals of all ages who are open to purpose driven careers, capability building and development, flexible work with well-grounded work life integration.
The focus on perennials moves the conversation from silo generations to a holistic one with a focus that cuts across generations and looks at individuals and the value they are bringing to the organization. It is also more inclusive and plays on the inter woven diversities of a team and harnessing it to drive business growth.
How this helps your business:
Perennials are a generation that cuts across all other generations and are identified by a mindset and not by their age. No matter the age of a perennial, there is the desire to be inspired by leaders who allow them to grown, learn, and discover paths to becoming the “best they can be”, and be part of a cause greater than themselves.
With such a mindset, Perennials can be the most loyal employees an organization could ask for. Further, business leaders will discover a crop of employees who love their work and have completely bought-into the vision. This is a powerful driving force that allows people to see value in diversity as well as oneness of heart and mind.
The generational dynamic has shifted and perennials; the tribe of people that will innovate and create the future of work are in high demand. Are you one of them?
Mrs. Dzifa Romano Mensah
Senior Manager, HR – Enterprise Life,
Ghana & Gambia.