Treating People Like People Instead of Generations

Humanizing, dehumanizing, people are people, labels

Treating People Like People Instead of Generations


Back in 2010 when I first starting working with Jessica I created a new section on her blog that focused on issues involving my generation, Generation Y aka Millennials. Since then there have been blog topics after blog topics about how my generation feels entitled and how we’re lazy. There are also several blogs out there that tell recruiters, hr professionals, and any others in the industry how to deal with us in the workplace and that we’re completely different then anyone you have ever managed. While that may be true, I feel like our mindset and perspective on handling employees should change from generation-focused to people-focused.

Think People Instead of Generations Including at Work

One of my biggest pet peeves within recruiting, human resources, and the industry as a whole is that we’re no longer treating our people like people but generational stereotypes. For instance, I read an article the other day on 15 Tips for Motivating Generation Y in the Workplace and thought to myself, wouldn’t all of these things motivate anyone at work or in the workplace? Sure, I’m a Millennial and I won’t deny the fact that I love to get feedback on how i’m performing, but who doesn’t? I’ve worked in a workplace where there were ages from twenty-one to sixty and no matter your generation they all valued feedback.

A couple months ago a fellow Millennial, Kristine Overacre Page, and I wrote an article that debunked 10 Myths on Millennials and the comments that we received over the blog were to say the least, not accepting. They pointed back to the fact that because we don’t believe the normal GenY stereotype that we felt entiteld and were self-obsessed. Why is it that we keep treating candidates and employees based on their age and not their overall performance?

Stop the Generalization of Generations

No matter their age we should start treating employees and candidates equally at work and in life. This doesn’t mean you won’t try and woo a GenY candidate the same way you would a GenX candidate, but once their employees, it’s important to look past their generation and for us to stop writing about generation stereotypes in the workplace. I take offense to the notion that GenY is an entitled and lazy generation because I’m up at 2:16 a.m. writing this blog so that we have good content published on our website. Not to mention the fact that I have and several other of my Millennial friends put in twelve hour days to make sure our clients are happy and company’s profitable.

3 Tips for Overcoming the Generalization of Generations

Treat employees how you want to be treated: Don’t go into a workplace and automatically assume that your GenY employee is going to need extra attention and feedback just because they’re apart of a specific generation.

Create a culture that benefits all generations: Create a good culture not just a culture based on the generations in your workplace. If you think that GenY works better remotely, allow everyone to work remotely. Create an exceptional culture that benefits everyone based on an your core company objectives.

Develop programs that ignite good performance: According to recent statistics employers lose on average about $10,000 per employee who are disengaged at work. I feel like I read a different article each week that tells me I am lazy and that I could always perform better, but we never talk about how other generations aren’t performing. So how about creating programs designed to engage people and not just generations?

My call to action in this blog is simple. Let’s stop generalizing generations and start treating people like people. That’ll sure make me and a bunch of other hard working Millennials happy. 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jon Mertz says


    Your suggestions and thoughts are spot on! When we drop our ideas about generations and just begin to work together, we do realize there is little difference between what we what to achieve. We may have different ideas, approaches, etc., but that is what makes us human. If we focus on how to work together and how to build a culture that anyone would love to work in, then we have built a new, better work and leadership story.

    Thank you for this great post!


  2. Laura says

    Hi Blake,

    I find your article very interesting especially since I”m a baby boomer! I’ve felt the same way at times when I read articles about “baby boomers” especially when they start talking about retirement. I have so much more to do in my life and I love my work so I plan on being in the worforce for many years to come! No retirement for this baby boomer any time soonn! I also feel that companies should “embrace” the generational differences, expand on them positively for their contributions and not the perceived negatives. I don’t know a millennial who is lazy, I just know we have important differences and those differences all contribute to the success of our own careers and the companies we work for!

  3. Blake McCammon says

    Hi John –

    Thanks for your comment. It’s all about working together, not about our different takes on life, you’re right!

    Hi Laura,

    Your comments are spot on with what I was trying to convey. It’s not about you being a baby boomer or me being a Millennial, it’s about us working together cohesively like John pointed out.



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