Baldwin EMC CEO Karen Moore
A popular business-focused magazine recently published an interesting article about the different age groups in the workforce today. The article pointed out a fact that I found very intriguing. This is the first time in American history that we have four, sometimes five generations still active in the workplace. More and more “millennials,” or those born after 1981, are beginning their careers, while “traditionalists,” those born between 1925 and 1945, are postponing their retirements. Throw in Baby Boomers and members of Generation X, and you’ve got quite a diverse workforce.
Each generation has its own qualities and characteristics. Each brings something unique to the workforce. Traditionalists, for example, have great respect for authority and are intensely loyal to their employers. Millennials make the more effective use of technology and adapt well to change.
I’m glad to say that all four of these generations are represented at
Baldwin EMC. We have twenty-somethings working alongside seventy-somethings. They are learning from one another, building on each other’s strengths.
How does this benefit our members? When it comes time to make a change for the cooperative, such as introducing a new program or reworking a company procedure, we have several different perspectives to draw from. We have the innovators, who see how we can do it, and our longtime employees whose years of experience helps us decide the best way to carry it out.
Our multi-generational workforce also gives us great “bench strength,” meaning we have a group of potential successors ready to take on the leadership roles that will be left vacant by retirements.
The diversity of our employees also reflects the diversity of our membership. More and more young millennials are leaving the nest, buying homes and starting families. They are becoming community leaders – positions once held by their parents and grandparents. As a result, we have to add variety to the way we reach out to our members, especially in terms of communications. The methods we’ve relied on for decades don’t always appeal to our younger members. Therefore we have to refine our approach. Luckily, we’ve got a built-in focus group by way of our workforce. The same is true for the employees that have been with the co-op for many years. They help us understand their demographic and provide a valuable perspective.