A Boomer’s Guide: Four Things To Know About Working With Gen Z

Originally published in Forbes.

As one of the oldest generations in our workforce, Baby Boomers (as well as Generation X) have achieved a lot, and they’ve had to put up with a lot. Boomers have spent the past 15 years or so adjusting to millennials — figuring out why they work differently and learning that they don’t do everything by the book. Unfortunately, many Boomers have spent way too much time complaining about them, rather than adjusting to them. I get your angst.

Having consulted for companies with employees of different generations, I can tell you that many millennials arrived with perceived feelings of entitlement and a focus on driving change that did not exactly enamor Boomers. However, many Boomers missed the opportunity to learn from the change millennials brought to the table. So to ensure you don’t make that same mistake with our Z’s, I’d like to provide you with a quick guide for working together.

Let’s begin by understanding a little about Gen Z, also known as the iGeneration, those who were born between the mid-1990s and 2010. Good news first: It seems that this new generation has shed some of the laissez-faire approaches of millennials. They grew up in a recession and have been hearing their parents remind them that nothing will just be given to them. Understanding this message has formed a determination and willingness to work hard to get to where they need to be. This should resonate positively with older generations, who typically share the same values. Along with that strong work ethic, Gen Z has an appreciation for more traditional work benefits, like health care and tuition reimbursement, with seemingly less interest in the Ping-Pong table and sleeping pods that were thought to be so important to millennials.

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