Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) - QRCA Views Magazine, Summer 2021

BUILDING GENERATIONAL AWARENESS *In between each generation are “cuspers.” These individuals identify with either/both of the generations on each side. Generational Bias Is Real Let's start with two true stories of disconnection between generations. Imagine that you work for a large accounting firm, and in the past six months, you hired a 28-year-old that you believe will take your firm into the future. You are so excited about it and believe in him so much that you put him on a major project team with one of the senior partners because you want to start building a relationship between them. The day arrives for the first team meeting of this major project, and everyone is seated around the conference table and ready to go except for the 28-year-old millennial. You begin to get a little nervous because you are the one who was promoting this guy. You immediately pick up your phone and call him. “Hey Joe, where are you?” He says, “What do you mean where am I?” You say, “The meeting . . . that really big meeting . . . it is starting right now, and we need you here.” He replies, “Oh, it is such a beautiful day. I thought I would just call in from the lake.” This is a true story . . . and I promise you that the 28-year-old millennial did not wake up that morning thinking, “I hope I do something today that makes my boss want to fire me.” TRADITIONALISTS Before 1946 BABY BOOMERS 1946–1964 GEN X 1965–1980 MILLENNIALS 1981–1996 GEN Z 1997–2012 TOTAL # (U.S., 2019) 23 million 69 million 65 million 72 million 67 million DEFINING EVENTS - Great Depression - World War II - Vietnam War - Kennedy assassination - Civil Rights - Space Shuttle Challenger explosion - AIDS pandemic - Berlin Wall falls - 9/11 - Introduction of the iPhone in 2007 - School shootings - COVID-19 - 2020 Election and “fake news” SHARED EXPERIENCES - Parents had survived the Great Depression - So often focused on being thrifty, saving money - Space Age - Climbing corporate ladder - Television - Women pursuing professional careers - Latchkey kids - MTV and ESPN - FOMO brought on by social media - College debt - Called their parents “friend” - Likely will not be better off than their parents - Digital natives - Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. - Social justice/equality VALUES - Strong work ethic - Family focus - Workaholic - Team-oriented - Independent and entrepreneurial - Global thinkers - Purpose over paycheck - Work/life balance - Independent and entrepreneurial - DIY and customizable COMMUNICATION - Formal writing - Face-to-face - Real, raw, direct - Indirect, text - Social media, virtual LEADERSHIP - Hierarchy - Consensus - Art, self-command - Shared leadership, equality - Supportive, empathetic CHANGE - Structure - Not good with “gray” - Don’t like change or conflict - Experience matters - Systems - Impatient and skeptical - Crave structure - Expect change CONFLICT - The boss is in charge - Leader will decide after discussion - Speak their mind - Conflict averse - Competitive, realistic Chart A: Resident population in the U.S. by generation in 2019. Source: Statista QUALITATIVE RESEARCH CONSULTANTS ASSOCIATION 25