Understanding the Generational Divide

I know people don’t like to be stereotyped, and not everyone fits neatly into generational categories. There are always exceptions, but it is helpful to look closer at some common characteristics, backgrounds, values and communication styles within each of the current generational groups:

  • Traditionalists (1900-1945)
  • Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
  • Generation X (1965-1980)
  • Millennials (1981-2000)
  • Generation Z/iGen (2001-)

You may encounter some of these groups in the relationships your practice builds with patients, staff, referring physicians and business contacts. Let’s get to know each a bit better and start with the Traditionalists who are now age 75 and older. Here are a few of their typical traits and behaviors:

  • Two sub-groups: The Greatest Generation (1900-1924) and The Silent Generation (1925-1945)
  • Adhere to rules, conformers
  • Loyal, patient, disciplined
  • Avid readers
  • Like handwritten notes, less email and more personal interaction

How can your physicians and staff use this information to enhance service and communication to the Traditionalist generation?

  • They love to read. Do you provide them with patient education materials about their conditions and care? Is this information available in both print and on your web site?
  • Do you notice, value and compliment their loyalty, punctuality and compliance?
  • Do you ever send a handwritten note thanking and recognizing your long-term patients for their trust and loyalty?

What are some other ways you can better meet the unique needs of this group?

Next time we’ll talk about the Baby Boomers.