Under normal circumstances I would assiduously avoid a book that devoted 10 pages in an appendix to explain its research methodology, knowing that I would have to confront my inadequacies in understanding such terms as "multivariate analysis of covariance," "norming," "factor analysis" and "biographic inventory." But if you can get past the academic paradigming, there is some good stuff here.
The authors are educators and consultants who have discovered that the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers are having some trouble getting along in organizations, and they provide a wealth of material about how the two demographic groups can work better in teams. In my view, the most valuable section in the book is its final chapter, which is about retaining Xers.
The key fact to consider here is that, according to the research, the boomers outnumber the Xers by 78 million to 45 million in the workforce. With such a disparity in place and with such an imbalance in knowledge about little things like the computer on your desktop (How do I turn this on again?), we boomers had better figure out how to recruit and retain these youngsters—simply because they know how to take us into the future and we don't.
Our parents worked in the era in which muscle ruled the workplace. Boomers like me straddle the era in which muscle has been quickly replaced by brainpower and information, which are going to dominate the future of work. We clearly need to keep our Xers on board. The authors quote another study, which shows that when one computes all the costs of replacing an employee (recruiting, selecting, training, loss of customer loyalty, etc.) the average replacement cost of an Xer is 150 percent of base pay and benefits. Read this book to learn what you have to do besides stock your company kitchen with Krispy Kremes to keep your business intact.