SOURCE: Kelly Services, Inc.

Kelly Services, Inc.

August 26, 2009 14:52 ET

Kelly Services Says Communication Style and Rewards Critical to Managing Generational Differences in the Workplace

TROY, MI--(Marketwire - August 26, 2009) - Differences in communication style and attitudes toward rewards are key factors managers should address in juggling the needs of the three main generations in the American workplace, Gen Y (aged 18-29), Gen X (aged 30-47), and baby boomers (aged 48-65), according to the latest findings from an international workplace survey.

The survey, by global workforce solutions leader Kelly Services, finds that younger generations are increasingly using instant messaging, but in a business context, all generations overwhelmingly prefer face-to-face communications. When asked about rewards and bonuses, Gen Y prefers monetary rewards while older generations including Gen X and baby boomers lean towards non-cash rewards such as time off work or training opportunities.

The Kelly Global Workforce Index obtained the views of nearly 100,000 people in 34 countries including more than 13,000 in the United States.

Kelly Services Executive Vice President and General Manager, Mike Webster, says that generational differences can sometimes cause friction between employees, but may not be as difficult to manage as is often imagined.

"A range of views and opinions from different perspectives is more likely to produce creative and innovative approaches. It is worth recognizing the differences in people's needs at different stages of their life and career in order to best manage a range of age groups in today's workplace," Webster says.

There is acknowledgement across the spectrum that age-related differences do impact the way people go about their work, and 72 percent say they adapt their communication style in dealing with colleagues from a different generation.

Key findings from across U.S. regions and generations shows:

--  Workers in the South are the most positive about the workplace
    benefits of generational differences, and those in the Midwest, the least;
--  Respondents in the Northeast are the most concerned at the way they
    are being managed and rewarded;
--  In the West, the greatest incidence of generational conflict in the
    workplace occurs among Gen X;
--  In communicating with colleagues, all generations prefer face-to-face
    discussion over written or electronic communication;
--  Baby boomers are the most positive of all the generations about the
    productivity benefits of generational diversity;
--  Gen Y is more likely than other generations to adapt its communication
    style in dealing with colleagues from another generation.

The survey also finds that 39 percent of U.S. respondents say the differences between Gen Y, Gen X and baby boomers make the workplace more productive, while 22 percent say they interfere with productivity and 26 percent say they make no difference.

Webster says it is important that employers recognize and effectively manage the key differences between generations in order to achieve a harmonious balance and a productive work environment.

"Managers who can juggle the generational differences and harness the benefits will have a great advantage over their competition, " Webster concludes.

About the Kelly Global Workforce Index

The Kelly Global Workforce Index is a survey revealing opinions about work and the workplace from a generational viewpoint. Results of the current findings from across Kelly's global operations in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific will be published throughout 2009 in a series of six releases.

About Kelly Services

Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA) (NASDAQ: KELYB) is a world leader in workforce management services and human resources solutions. Kelly offers a comprehensive array of temporary staffing, permanent placement, outsourcing, and consulting services. Kelly serves clients around the globe and provides employment to 650,000 employees annually. Revenue in 2008 was $5.5 billion. Visit

Contact Information