Gen Y and Gen Z collide at Workplace! Are You Ready?

Gen Y and Gen Z meet at work: Is your organization ready?



The year 2016 has already witnessed massive change, with around 3.6 million baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) set to retire in the U.S., and one-fourth of Gen Y or “millennials” (those born between the early 1980s to early 2000s) preparing to take on the management roles. Also, Generation Z (born between 1994 and 2010) has started to join the workforce. Employers experiencing the impacts of millennials on work culture due to their strikingly different perspectives on work. Employers will also experience the magnified difference as—in many ways—Gen Z seems to be a slightly exaggerated version of the millennials, which will continue to shift the workplace dynamic. Generally, millennials are not equipped with the soft skills and emotional quotients required to effectively take over managerial positions. The situation becomes even more complex when millennials managers are required to lead employees older than themselves.


A study by Future Workplace found that 83% of survey respondents have witnessed millennials managing Gen X and Baby Boomers in their workplaces. However, older generations believe that millennials are typically underqualified or not well-versed in managerial skills. As per the study, 45% of Baby Boomers and Gen X survey respondents feel that lack of the Gen Y’s managerial experience could negatively impact company culture.


Traits of Gen Z

The workplace in which Gen Z seeks to work in the U.S. is shaped by an economic recession, rising healthcare costs and mounting student loans. Hence, the retention and engagement of these workers revolves around financial rewards, career advancements and work/life balance.  What’s more, while technology courses through millennials veins, it is a sixth sense for Gen Zers.  Organizations seeking to hire and engage Gen Zers will have to go the extra mile to incorporate emerging social and digital technologies at the workplace. Simply providing access to these tools won’t be enough; smart, effective management will be key, as this generation also struggles to perform in the distraction of such technologies.


Collaborative Generations

Today, we are witnessing the collaborative revolution, in which organizations and employees are working more cooperatively than ever before. Communication and collaboration with the coworkers is not only providing job satisfaction, but also factoring into their abilities to perform.


What are younger generations seeking from management and leadership?


  • Career advancement: Frequent professional development and career advancement opportunities
  • Financial stability: Employee recognition and rewards that provide stability
  • Technology: Integration of the social and emerging technologies
  • Managerial training: Skill enhancement courses, and talent assessment and development initiatives that foster effective performance
  • Work/life balance: Proportionate value placed on work and personal responsibilities


For years, leading organizations have invested effort and resources to understand the different work styles of the younger generation (Gen Y). Now, with the emergence of the Gen Z, considerations are about to become even more complicated.