Different workplace generations "have to learn how they are alike, as much as how they are different", if business prosperity is to continue, according to W Stanton Smith, national director of Next Generation Initiatives at Deloitte Consulting.
Speaking to HR directors at Human Resources magazine's first Leaders Club, sponsored by Insala, the researcher said that generational differences are real, although what unites generations is quality of life, financial security, career progression and health.
"Only 13% of millennials [those born after 1980] say work means everything to them," he said. "These new workers think and behave differently, and while all generations have thought the new kids act differently, the millennials will have a permanent impact. Managers need to listen to them, while at the same time setting a context that enables them to be professional."
He added: "The good news is that there are more similarities than we think - the workforce has not changed, the workplace has."
HR leaders were gathered at the St Martins Lane Hotel in London, where Smith signed copies of his new book, Decoding Generational Differences: Fact or Fiction... or Should We Just Get Back to Work?
The event was the first in what will become a regular series of get-togethers aimed at giving the industry's top HR professionals a place to network.
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