From one generation to the next, there are some pretty distinct differences. But understanding them more could help Rockford area businesses. That's at least what one expert on the topic said, and he explained how at this year's Rockford Chamber of Commerce dinner.
"They have different lifestyles," said Bob Girl.
"We like a lot of feedback," said Adrian Epling.
"They don't have children or wives or husbands," said Girl.
"Sometimes the baby boomers aren't used to that so sometimes we feel like we're bugging them," said Epling.
Two employees, same company, very different people. Epling is a millennial, born in the 1980s. Girl is a baby boomer. But despite their differences, they get along perfectly fine. That's not the case for all generations, but most boomers and millennial's do.
"They grew up together, those were their parents," said generations expert Haydn Shaw. "But exerts often feel like they're squeezed out of the lovefest on movies and on music."
Shaw, the keynote speaker at the dinner, says understanding each generation is key for businesses.
"All industries are finding the generations to be challenging because we've never had 4 at one time before.," said Shaw.
In order, that's traditionalists, baby boomers, generation x'ers and millennials. He says boomers and traditionalists have mindsets like, if you're early you're on time and if you're on time you're late.
"A younger gen x'er or millennial may say, 'hey the phones don't start ringing til 9:15 so if I roll in at 9:02 what harm is done?'" said Shaw.
Those different mindsets are what causes problems at companies. But Shaw says there is a solution.
"If we focus on the why we're different instead of the what's the difference then we can make some bridges rather than divide," he said.