Different generations, different aspirations?

11 October 2021, By Inês Teixeira, Account Executive at Canela

This blogpost was written by Inês Teixeira, Account Executive at Canela and student of the postgraduate course in Communication and Positive Psychology: Contributions to Wellbeing in Organizations at the Portuguese Catholic University. This content is part of her final postgraduate project.

It is well known that the most asset of any company is its employees. A motivated and hard-working team is essential for any company’s progress. Fortunately, both organisations and managers are increasingly aware of this and today’s corporate structures are less hierarchical than in the past and are moving towards diversity in terms of employees. It is possible to have up to four different generations in the same organisation or even department. Whether during team gatherings or in meetings, every day we see baby boomers interacting and working with Gen Z people, and it is often the case that the best ideas emerge from these combinations.

However, having such different people in the same team is also a challenge for companies. While Generation Z and Y are tech-savvy, Generation X has different working methodologies and, naturally, more experience in their respective fields of expertise. While older generations valued titles and status and put work first and foremost in search of often unattainable economic stability, today, for younger generations, what is really important is to achieve a balance between personal and professional life, with work time, but also a healthy family balance as well as space for sports, travel and even a small entrepreneurship project.

These are the different generations, with their respective aspirations, that can be found in the same company today:

Baby boomers (1946-1964)

Despite the fact that most of them are already about to retire, baby boomers, also known as “children of the Second World War”, place great value on job stability and material achievements. They prefer to be recognised for their experience rather than for their innovativeness.

Generation X (1965-1979)

With the arrival of Generation X, flexible working hours and the possibility of working remotely began to be valued more. Two aspects which have become the order of the day since the outbreak of the pandemic and of the utmost importance when it comes to choosing a new job although we still don’t how they will be handled in the post-Covid world. In fact, at Canela these were already recurrent practices with very positive results. This generation, already quite globalised, has also introduced the need for a more informal working environment, both with team members who are at the same level as them and with their bosses.


Generation Y (1980-2000)

For Generation Y, also known as Millennials, work is seen not only as a source of income, but also a source of satisfaction and learning. An ongoing and constant personal improvement and consequent career progression are very important to this generation, as is sharing knowledge and experience with peers and managers. Millennials need approval and mentoring because they believe this is the only way they can evolve and become better professionals.

Generation Z (2001-2010)

Generation Z, which is now beginning to enter the labour market, is characterised by its tech savviness and by the fact that they prioritise having and trying out new and innovative products. If Millennials are looking for new and different experiences, this generation is going back to material goods. In addition, centennials strive to find their dream job that fits their personality and give more importance than ever on diversity, inclusion and social causes.

Nowadays, workers are looking for a job that brings them happiness and fulfilment, and this can only be achieved when there is a good working environment and people feel part of the process and perform tasks that interest them for as much of the time as possible. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Canela launched an internal wellness programme and offered online fitness and mindfulness classes aiming to help its team unwind in a relaxed atmosphere during months of a heavy lockdown and working remotely. There is no better way to achieve success than having a united team!