SOURCE: Kelly Services, Inc.

Kelly Services, Inc.

August 26, 2009 11:05 ET

New Global Workforce Survey Offers Breadth of Knowledge for Managing Various Generations in the Workplace

TORONTO--(Marketwire - August 26, 2009) - Differences in communication style and attitudes toward rewards are key factors managers should address when juggling the needs of the three main generations in the Canadian 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 Gen Y is increasingly using instant messaging, yet all age groups overwhelmingly prefer face-to-face communication. When receiving rewards and bonuses, younger workers prefer cash payments, while many older workers opt for non-cash rewards such as time off work and training opportunities.

The Kelly Global Workforce Index obtained the views of nearly 100,000 people in 34 countries including more than 7,000 in Canada.

Kelly Services VP and Managing Director of Canadian Operations, Karin French, said that generational differences can sometimes cause friction between employees, but when properly managed, can also be a source of growth.

The survey also finds that 45 percent of Canadian respondents say the differences between Gen Y, Gen X and baby boomers make the workplace more productive, while 17 percent say they interfere with productivity and 25 percent say they make no difference.

"When the differences between the age groups are harnessed effectively, they can provide a powerful stimulus to creativity and productivity. Rather than trying to smother this diversity, good employers are utilizing it to generate fresh ideas and new ways of doing business," French says.

Among the key findings of the survey:

--  Baby boomers believe they understand the generational differences
    better than Gen Y or Gen X
--  In communicating with colleagues, all generations prefer face-to-face
    discussion over written or electronic communication
--  Gen Y largely opt for traditional cash rewards while many Gen X and
    baby boomers lean toward non-cash benefits such as time off work and
    training opportunities
--  More than a third (38 percent) say they have experienced
    intergenerational conflicts in their workplace.

There is acknowledgement across the spectrum that age-related differences do impact on the way people go about their work, and 74 percent say they adapt their communication style in dealing with colleagues from a different generation.

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

"Juggling these pressures is challenging but by addressing issues such as compensation and internal communications, it is possible to reap the benefit from a diverse group of people, and generate conditions that can help organizations to flourish," French 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