If managers are serious about their organizations' survival, then they must build and cultivate a staff of invested and knowledgeable Millennials. The underlying problem is that most managers do not understand how to engage their Millennial employees effectively.

Millennials work, think, and behave in ways that leave non-Millennial managers often confounded or frustrated. This dilemma has led to unprecedented tension in the workplace.

Sixty percent of employers say they are experiencing tension between employees of different generations, 70 percent of older employees are dismissive of younger worker's abilities, and 50 percent of younger employees are skeptical of their older coworkers' abilities. The tension is so extreme in some organizations that it becomes debilitating.

Most of the tension is a direct result of generational misunderstandings. There are currently four generations at work: Builders, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials (also known as Generation Y).

Each generation has a unique set of values, attitudes, and beliefs that contribute to their behavior. German sociologist Karl Mannheim's generational theory explains how the major cultural events that members of an age group experience during their formative years shape the entire generation's outlook on life.

Builders (born before 1946) were influenced by The Great Depression, The New Deal and World War II. They uphold values such as hard work, honor, delayed gratification and respect for authority.

The Baby Boomers (born from 1946-1964) were influenced by Vietnam, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Liberation Movement, television and rock and roll. Professional identity, health and wellness and material wealth are important to Baby Boomers.

Generation X (born from 1965-1977) is the smallest of the age cohorts. They were influenced by the Persian Gulf War, AIDS, a tripling of the divorce rate, both parents working, video games, MTV, and computers. Their greatest values are mobility, autonomy, and work-life balance.

Millennials (born from 1978-1996) are also known as Generation Y. They have been shaped by 9/11 and terrorism, Columbine, cell phones, text messaging, and technology based social networking. They value work-life balance, diversity, self-expression, technology, and social responsibility. They are the most socially and diversity tolerant generation ever, as well as the most educated and technologically savvy generation. They comprise the fastest growing segment of the workforce.

As each generation transitions into the workforce they begin to make demands on their nation's various institutions to change in accordance with their beliefs and values. Generation X was not a big enough age cohort to make a large impact in the workplace, but Generation Y is.

Millennials are currently demanding change from the United States in a broad spectrum of areas, and from their managers in particular. They are having a creating a significant influence simply due to their sheer numbers.

Author's Bio: 

Samantha Johnson is the social media manager of Business Book Summaries. Business Book Summaries (BBS) provides comprehensive, concise summaries of the best business books available. Using stringent criteria, only the top business books published each year are selected to be summarized. More than 260 summaries are produced each year…that’s one each business day. The BBS Library includes more than 1,000 summaries of the top business books from the last 20 years, and is constantly growing. The summaries are available in a range of formats, from text to PDF to MP3 to PowerPoint to PDA. Visit http://www.bizsum.com.