Corporate blog


The theory of generations was conceived in 1991 at the confluence of economics, demography and history. What it suggests, in brief, is that people of one generation have largely similar values, attitudes and social skills. Distinctive similar features are noted in generations born from 1963 to 1982 (Generation X), 1983 to 2003 (Generation Y), and the so called generation of millennials, or Generation Z.

23 September 2015

Because of UMG's wide-ranging activities, we communicate with members of each generation and can state that the theory is valid to some degree. Of course, we select employees not by age, but by compatible values. The qualities we find important are leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, integrity, and openness. However, our ability to find the key to each person to unlock their greatest strengths, both personal and generational, helps us to create powerful HR potential.

Below are a few recommendations about how to use the theory of generations in HR practice.

1. Analyze the special features of each generation

Currently, two generations make up the largest part of UMG staff: X and Y (see chart). Readiness to change, availability of choice, global awareness, technical literacy, and a drive for learning are generally believed to be the principal values of Generation X. Today, it is this generation that forms our company's values to the greatest extent. In its turn, Generation Y (1983–2003) adds flexibility, a free style of communication and management and a highly dynamic approach. The HR Director should be aware that members of this generation are ready to work overtime, and expect recognition and remuneration for their effort. Generation Y wants to be assigned a task, given a vector for movement, and have defined deadlines. They will do the rest. However, X people tend toward a fundamental approach to solving problems: deep examination, analysis of the problem, followed by making a considered decision.

UMG management is at the juncture of Generations X and Y, which gives rise to a democratic style of management, openness and direct communication with top managers, search for new ideas and pursuit of promising projects.

2. Select your team wisely

When creating teams, keep in mind the special features of generations. For example, generation Y accounts for most of the staff in the Strategy Department, working with startups. They take on the task of finding new trends and analyzing information, and quickly shift from one project to another. They work in a mobile and creative manner without rigid control and framework. In its turn, gen-Xers make decisions and direct the team with their profound knowledge, experience and well-developed critical thinking.

Balanced X and Y teams are best for Sales. Expertise, strategic planning, logistics and market analytics are the realm of generation X. Mobility, establishing contacts, and finding new solutions are assigned to Y.

3. Create a comfortable workplace environment

For our team, we select employees that are leaders and entrepreneurs by nature and, as such, often think outside the box. Rigid work hours or monotonous routines can seriously undermine their performance. This is why it is important for us to create conditions in the workplace that promote development and a creative approach.

The company's primary trend is professional and personal development, which is especially desired by generation Y. Many of them are gaining their first significant professional experience with us. In addition, a certain freedom of action is important for them, while excessive control can be harmful. They prefer improving quality and speeding up operations rather than following conventions such as working 9 to 6.

This is why one of the HR Director's primary objectives is to make the office environment comfortable so that it feels almost like home, or maybe even slightly better. We have arranged coffee areas, a comfortable break room and a library, and we have selected an unconventional interior design. Statistics shows that our employees often stay up late and go to work on weekends.

4. Build your pool

What will generation Z find comfortable? A separate gaming zone with a PlayStation? An in-house gym or swimming pool? A bike parking area? Time will tell, but we are preparing for their arrival now. We know that generation Z works and lives online 24/7. They have an intuitive understanding of new technologies and are characterized by fast response time. Emotions and social skills are their weaknesses. They often find it hard to figure out other people's behavior.

We are already establishing a connection with the future generation, gen-Z. We are doing so primarily through communication and educational programs. We tell about the company and the opportunities that future junior specialists can find here. We hold open classes and lectures and offer tours around the faciliity. We actively communicate with generation Z, aware that we might wake up tomorrow and find them as our colleagues.

5. Bridge the gap

At the core of any successful entity, its principal value appears to be something other than land or equipment, knowledge or technologies. Its principal value lies is in people who can see their goal and create their future. Most successful companies owe their success to the preservation of their values. Thus, the task of any HR department is to cultivate these values.

The theory of generations teaches members of different generations to understand and collaborate with each other better. The HR Director has the role of moderator in this situation: being aware of the essential features of each group, he or she must find common ground and promote the exchange of knowledge and experience.


Irina Kharrasova
Human Resources Director