Generational Diversity in the Workplace: Traditionalists

Experience is a true differentiator in the legal industry. However, for the first time in history, four distinct generations – Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials – are working side by side, each one defined and shaped by very different experiences themselves.

As a business leader, it’s imperative to understand what separates members of these distinct generations – their challenges, their desires, their expectations and their work styles – in order to effectively bring everyone together and strengthen your team as a whole. In this blog series inspired by our white paper, we will be addressing how to recruit, retain and inspire each generation to strengthen your workforce.

Traditionalists, born 1925-1945, were raised in a time marked by the Great Depression, the New Deal, World War II, the Korean War and the FDR administration. They endured many financial challenges and were taught to be frugal, to work hard and to sacrifice. These important factors help explain why Traditionalists are among the most loyal in the modern workforce.

Education and Experience

Because higher education was not readily available to everyone (due to factors such as financial hardship and the draft lottery), Traditionalists may have less formal education than their younger peers. However, their commitment, diligence and tenure make them rich and unequaled in experience.

Traditionalist Qualities

Traditionalists value respect and community and they will work hard to facilitate the development of these ideals in the workplace.

Recruiting Traditionalists

Ninety-five percent of Traditionalists are retired from the workforce. However, those that remain active can be recruited through traditional mediums, such as newspaper advertising and traditional referral programs, as Traditionalists are less likely to use the Internet to aid in a job search. If local companies are beginning to downsize, they may be letting their most seasoned an tenured employees go, representing an opportunity for you to add them to your firm or department. Although they will be less eager to relocate, Traditionalists can be lured by financial security and company stability.

Retaining Traditionalists

Traditionalists grew up during WWII, when patriotism was championed and valued. Therefore, they tend to place unyielding faith in institutions and desire to remain with one company throughout their entire careers. If you show them respect, Traditionalists will likely remain with your company for many years.

Inspiring Traditionalists

Traditionalists believe in the value of hard work, loyalty, sacrifice and respecting the rules. Members of this generation are heavily motivated by attaining and maintaining respect. Traditionalists like to be acknowledged for their depth of knowledge and for a job well done.

In our next Generational Diversity blog post, we will discuss Baby Boomers. For more insight or to add new talent to your workforce, contact your local Special Counsel branch.

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