Differences between generations carry very real and important implications for how companies engage with their employees and customers. Cultural rifts between age groups can result in everything from mild misunderstandings to wild polarizations. In rare cases, they can even cause dramatic societal upheaval.
But articulating exactly what those differences are – and how broadly they are shared globally – remains a challenge. The attitudes and values of Millennials, Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers can vary enormously by country, with significant subdivisions within each – distinctions made even more complicated by rapidly changing technology. To effectively reach all of these groups requires nuanced study and an equally detailed strategy.
This issue of the Brunswick Review builds on research we’ve undertaken to shed light on all of these intricacies. Brunswick Insight’s global survey of more than 42,000 people across 26 countries reveals many of the gaps between and within generations and points to ways to build bridges. The articles here outline the most challenging problems those gaps pose for corporate leaders today, as described by those leaders themselves and by the men and women who advise them.
Perhaps most impressive is the level of optimism that emerges out of this discussion. Millennials are helping to drive a greater role for business in society and more companies are building social purpose into their business models. Older generations are expressing concern for the financial future of the young and do not see enough change happening in society and government. And all generations are looking to business for leadership in creating a better world.
Susan Gilchrist - CEO, Brunswick Group