We are in an interesting time where organizations are having to find a balance between four generations in the workforce. Those are the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Gen X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1996) and Gen Z (1997 and on). Each of these generations have unique characteristics, values and ideologies that have caused a need for organizations to bridge the generational gap. Understanding each generation and bridging this gap is what will allow companies to retain and attract talent.

Traits and ideologies for each generation

(Generational information below is from BlueSteps: click here to learn more)

Baby Boomers:

This is the generation that had to adapt to the use of incoming technology. They prefer face to face interactions and phone calls. Job security is what they value most in their career, tend to stick with the same employer and are usually more reserved. These are the traditional workers, preferring training through instructor courses or tools to teach themselves.

Gen X:

This generation introduced the value of work life balance. They were a little more familiar with the introduction of technologies in the workplace. They are dedicated to their career in comparison to the specific employer. These independent and results oriented people tend to communicate through text or email and embrace change.


These people grew up with the increasing technology. Their wants and needs in a workplace are to have freedom and flexibility with values that align with their own. This generation loves to have a mentor and thrives in a collaborative environment.

Gen Z:

This generation is just now entering the workforce. They do not know a life before technology. With the help of the pandemic, they have become accustom to a changing work environment and adapt well to it. They tend to prefer constant and ongoing feedback in the workplace.

Retaining and attracting talent

With all of these different traits and values in the same workforce, leaders and organizations must be conscientious in bridging the generational gap. Understand how each generation prefers to communicate and make company updates available in each form. Transparency and being open and available to communicate will help manage each generation’s expectations. Be flexible and allow a work life balance as the generations taking over the work force after the Baby Boomer generation starts to retire will value that in an organization. Each generation values education and training, so give them opportunities to continue their growth. Give opportunities to use those collected skills to work towards growing in the organization. Don’t be afraid to have an open dialogue about what people value and what their expectations are from their workplace. As chemical recruiters, we have found that understanding the individual person’s needs to ensure they align with the company is what increases the success rate in retaining and bringing in new talent.

Written by Sylvia Moreira: Specialty Chemicals Recruiter