Secrets to Inter-Generational Harmony

Posted by Liz O’Neil from Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide — North America on October 12, 2017

Do you know what motivates the four generations in the workplace? As marketers, we try and understand our advertising target. One view that we often take is where they fit generationally. This knowledge helps us market effectively on unique aspects. Understanding how they use technology differently and their comfort level in information gathering changes how we deliver messages to physicians who may be Boomers or patients who may be Millennials.

Generational diversity in the workplace may be one of the most overlooked areas in understanding team dynamics. We are in a moment where we have four generations all working together in a very horizontal workplace. We have the Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and shortly we will have a fifth, Generation Z.  You may have met some over the summer, our interns

Traditionalists (or as I like to call them, founders): 

Advertising giants like Thomas Ferguson and David Ogilvy were Traditionalists. Many created the corporate values that are prominent today. This is the generation that came back from WWII or Korea and rebuilt a nation. 

Baby Boomers:

They are the never-get-old-generation and believe in a hard day's work. Some are prepping for retirement, but most are still active and influential in the workforce.  

Gen X:

The smallest generation and very individualistic. They are the group of kids who were the latchkey kids and are used to autonomy. 


Another large group, as they are the children of Boomers, and they grew up to be the iGeneration with lots of technology becoming available. 

Values are ingrained responses and expectations we gather from the messages we have heard during our formative years. When it comes to values, there is no good or bad. Different generations grew up in different worlds and came to different conclusions. Ultimately, each of us wants the same thing: to feel respected and appreciated. 

A. Working with other bright people

B. Being valued and needed

C. Being respected

D. Freedom and removal of rules

See the key on the left to find out how you did, and check out more action from the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s workshop, The Challenges of Multiple Generations in the Workplace, hosted in our New Jersey headquarters.