Presenter: Lynette Chappell-Williams, Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine

November 20, 2017

The U.S. now has six living generations, and each has its own attributes, based on their collective experiences. Recognizing the needs and interests of each age group helps our community develop strategies to create a more inclusive environment for all, regardless of age. “This is the first time in history that there is four generations in the workplace,” said Chappell-Williams. She provided the breakdown of the generations living in Hershey and pointed out that 37.7% of the Hershey population is under the age of 30. She presented the characteristics of each of the age groups represented.

Those born from 1928-1945 are know as the Traditional/Silent Individuals. They follow the rules and have a strong respect for authority. As employees, they are loyal to the organization and their work responsibilities take precedence over their personal pursuits.

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and are the first workaholics, valuing hard work and education. They prefer fact to face interactions, and formal communication styles. Also are know to be status conscious and respect driven.

Generation X are individuals born from 1965 to 1979 and seek work-life balance and prefer an informal, fun environment. They are self-reliant and prefer individual projects and minimal supervision, although work well in groups. Generation X wants informal and quick communication.

Generation Y (Millennials) were born between 1988 and 1994 and are the most diverse in ethnicity. They are motivated by encouragement and rewards and are optimistic, confident and civic-minded. They want constant email communications, speedy decisions and information to be available immediately.

Generation Z (Next) is the last generation born and has experienced a tough economy, terrorism and complexities of life. They plan to be pioneers, are multi-taskers and are connected to technology at times. They operate on a personal and professional level base on a fear of missing out.

Lynette led group discussions on how the characteristics and values of each generation affect the community and its needs, and how to create an inclusive environment regardless of age and generational differences.

Lynette Chappell-Williams, JD, is the Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion for Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine. She is a lawyer, by training, but has focused on creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces for the past 18 years.