Managing a Staff of Baby Boomers

Waiter showing girl menu options

Boomers, known for their hard work and dedication, can be an asset to your foodservice workforce.

We don’t always understand each other in the workplace, and generational differences have shaped our needs - millennials need transparency, whereas baby boomers are happy to take direction and move forward with it. 

For baby boomers, they are a generation of people who were raised to be workaholics, people who look for a chain of command in their management, and who want to be seen as hard workers, with rewards for positive performance. 

And with generational dining preferences, how you should manage your employees changes significantly from the 23-38 year old range, to the 50-69 year old range, and everyone in between. 

How to manage the baby boomer generation at work

Boomers were were graded in schools to “work well with others”, creating a group of people who are optimistic and future-oriented. They believe that they can do anything they set their minds to, as long as they work hard. But they have certain expectations of their managers to ensure they perform at the highest level:

Boomers need mutual respect. They grew up being reminded to give respect, and they expect it in return. They will pay attention when you speak, and they’ll expect your full attention as well.

Boomers want to talk face-to-face. Personal conversations mean more than the less-familiar and less-personal method of emails and text messaging. 

Boomers want to play the game. Work has always been structured for their generation, so reward their dedication with incentives and perks. They may not always be responsive to hearing that you think they are “working too hard”, and need to take a vacation. A generation of people who work to get ahead, they might appreciate a bonus or a promotion more.

Boomers are history buffs. They’ll appreciate and want to know your corporate history. If there’s a story to share, it will add to their overall work experience. 

Boomers are team players - but they want personal attention. Teamwork and meetings can help boomers to stay connected with their co-workers, and with the management team, but they also expect professional, one-on-one feedback - without distractions. 

Boomers can be an ideal addition to any workforce as long as you attract the right fit for your operation. Let them know that they will work hard and be counted on for their quality. They’ll value the efficiency and tangible results. 

Most importantly, make sure they know they are valued. A boomer employee is not only a hard-working individual, they’re one that will strive to continue to grow, to learn, and to outperform other members of the staff, as long as you let them.