Farms are much like other businesses when it comes to blending new age groups into the older workforce. It helps to know where they're coming from and what they value. Consider these tips from Tricia Richardson, payroll consultant for Stambaugh Ness financial consulting firm headquartered at York, Pa.
Maybe you need an easy way to keep generational differences in your mind so you can appreciate what your employees need and want. Remember that each generational genre has very different values:
•Veterans – born before 1946
•Baby Boomers –born between 1946 and 1964
•Generation X – born between 1965 and1980
•Generation Y aka "Millennial Generation" – born between 1980 and 2000
We're seeing major differences in the needs of these generations. This is forcing employers, and leaders, to change their vision and direction for employer benefits and workforce flexibility.
What do they need/want?
Veterans: They're probably the easiest employees to please. They'll work hard, respect authority unquestioned, won't require regular feedback and praise, and believe in work first – before fun. Who wouldn't want them as employees?
Baby Boomers: They had veterans as parents and were born and raised during the social revolutions of equality, women's rights, civil rights, "free love." They'll demand a certain level of personal satisfaction and need to feel like they make a difference. They're also title-driven and want more money. These employees work to live and need to feel valued.
Generation Xers: They saw their Boomer parents work for "The Man," work hard, and sacrifice family and free time – for what – to bring money to large corporations and owners. This generation has a more entrepreneurial spirit. It sees everyone as having the same right to an opinion and should be part of decision making.
Xers expect immediate results, immediate decisions. Why not? They grew up with unprecedented technological advances that should allow quicker communication. This can be a challenging group. They demand a work-life balance. They'll challenge your rules, so you'd better have a good reason for them.
Millennials or Generation Yers: This bunch is changing the landscape of the traditional workplace. So fasten your seatbelt! In the next 10 years, they'll make up about 75% of the workforce.
They want a boss to be more of an equal or a mentor. They prefer collaboration over competition. Their work-life balance is crucial. Flexible work schedules, advanced technology and teamwork are key.
Forget about those "work your fingers to the bone" mentalities of the Veterans and Baby Boomers. This group expects, even more so than Generation X'ers, that their work somehow involves making the world a better place.
Rigid schedules and over-bearing rules won't be tolerated. Rules are seen as "guidelines." They expect that their contributions are just as valuable as those of long-term employees.
Honestly now, is that so bad? They have innovative ideas and want to work smarter, not harder.
So be creative and flexible. Do the best you can to build a bridge between everyone in the family!