June 2006 
Volume 05, Issue 2  
Cover Story

Let's get persona(l)

Who's the Future of Work project serving? Here's a glimpse at who Boeing's workers of 2016 could be—and what they might want in the workplace

In the next 10 years, about two-thirds of Boeing employees will be eligible to retire. What's assured in these 10 years is a workplace developing with a diversity of work styles.

With the help of Callison Architecture, the Future of Work project at Boeing looked hard at what this generational shift will bring. The FoW team's efforts ultimately focus on creating workspaces that help make Boeing and its employees more productive—and meet the needs and expectations of these diverse employees.

To help the team understand the needs of Boeing workers, Future of Work team members assembled fictional personas of three typical Boeing employees in 2016, with each persona representing a key demographic group. These personas are not based on actual individuals; indeed, descriptions of some personas include mentions of technologies that aren't commonly available today. But they show the predicted collective needs, expectations, interests and attitudes shared by members of each demographic range in 2016.

Baby boomersHere's a look at each persona.

Baby boomers

Boomers, born 1945 to 1964, make up about 80 percent of Boeing's current work force. They tend to be loyal to their employers, averaging more than 20 years with the same firm. They tend to work best individually and coordinate with a larger work team.

The 2016 persona: Jonna joined Boeing 30 years ago as a planner. She's now an advisor to a Boeing new-product development team, working part time. "Semi-retirement" has allowed her to turn her hobby into her work—as an antiques dealer. She loves travel and works 24/7 to serve her global customers—both in Boeing and for her own business. She travels constantly, so she needs the ability to communicate from any location around the globe. She feels strongly committed to Boeing and volunteers for one of the company's community education programs as a graphics art teacher.

Generation XGeneration X

Born from 1965 to 1984, Gen-Xers are also called the "baby bust" because this cohort is about 16 percent smaller than that of the boomers. In 10 years, this group will make up 50 percent of the work force. They're comfortable changing jobs frequently to pursue their career goals.

The 2016 persona: Wyatt is 44 years old with a 13-year-old daughter, Zoe. She's a tomboy and follows her dad everywhere. His wife, Apple, 39, is a freelance graphic designer. The family enjoys hiking and extreme sports. They share one car, a hydrogen-powered 2012 Honda Element. Wyatt likes to ride his bike to work, which gives him exercise and time for self-reflection—and lets Apple use the car during the day. Millennium GenerationWyatt and Apple would like to have another child but don't have the space in the house. Currently they're looking for a lot for their new Honda Modular home.

Millennium Generation

Members of this generation, born between 1985 and 2004, will be entering the work force by 2012. Indeed, the oldest members of this generation will be 31 by 2016. This generation is larger than the baby bust. They are growing up in ways that cultivate collaboration. For them, social networking is crucial and being online and electronically connected is natural.

The 2016 persona: Jack, a new hire, writes and produces his own music. He is connected to a global community. He questions sources of information and is a bit selfish and introspective. His work is his play and vice versa. He has global/remote "buddies" he can communicate with at any time. He is a multitasker and is always connected at the computer and via cell phone.


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