Ira Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions, famous for predicting the so-called Perfect Labor Storm, has recently warned of significant challenges facing employers as they seek to manage a workforce with ever more diversifying lifestyles, attitudes, and approaches. And as Baby Boomers continue to delay retirement, forcing workers in their forties to remain stuck in lower-level positions, and completely excluding Millennials from the professional workforce, a “generational fatigue” is beginning to set in, leading to new challenges for the sometimes rigid corporate culture.
“For the first time in history, the workplace is filled with workers from four generations,” says Wolfe. “Each generation brings a different worldview and set of values. Managing two or three generations in the past was challenging enough. Managing four – well that’s well beyond the abilities and patience of many managers and current human resources infrastructure of most companies.”
“In the past there was an orderly progression of older workers out of the workplace as a new generation arrived,” continues Wolfe. “Today you have what I call the Gray Ceiling– an entire generation of 40-somethings unable to move up because Baby Boomers aren’t moving out. And because they can’t get promoted, there is no room for the Millennials to begin their careers. Add technology and social media to the mix, and organizations have an impending crisis in the making.”