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Gen Z Renews Generational Discussion

By Bonnie Johnson,


As we begin to welcome a new generation into the workplace, there is renewed interest and discussion on generational differences.  We tend to hear a lot of talk about the negative traits associated with every generation.  Millennials feel entitled and have a short attention span.  Generation X doesn’t like to work overtime.  Baby Boomers are workaholics.  What about this new Generation Z? 


In contrast to the negativity, each generation brings valuable skills and traits to the workplace. Understanding that there are varying motivations for everyone regardless of generation, but taking generational differences into account can help guide workplace interactions.  Utilize this information to tailor your approaches and make the most of every generation!


Generation Z: Born After Millennials

This generation is so new that there is no exact agreement on the range of birth dates.  Some state Gen Z starts in the mid to late 1990s, while others say 2000.  This generation is sometimes also called Centennials or iGeneration.  Never the less, this generation is or will soon be entering the workforce and you can expect some changes.  This is the first completely digitized generation that has always been connected to the internet and as expected, they are proficient in technology.  Youth making up Generation Z are diverse and are predicted to be independent thinkers and doers.  


The Center for Generational Kinetics conducted a study, iGen Tech Disruption, examining the technology uses of Gen Z. They found that social media affects Generation Z both internally and externally more than any other generation.  Vine and Instagram were the top platforms to reach Gen Z.  Interestingly, this new generation expects to be more conservative in their cell phone usage at work:


Is it appropriate to talk, text and surf the web during work hours?


% “yes”



Gen X




iGen (Gen Z)


(iGen Tech Disruption, The Center for Generational Kinetics, 2016)



Generation Y: Born 1981 – Mid 90s/2000

Generation Y, or Millennials, are confident, tech-savvy multi-taskers.  They seek out constant feedback because they have a curious, goal-oriented entrepreneurial spirit. Gen Y members are very comfortable texting, messaging and using social media. 


Generation X: Born 1965 – 1980

Xers strongly value work/life balance and are masters at finding efficient ways to accomplish tasks.  This generation is more informal than Boomers and tends to prefer email and phone calls for communication.


Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964

Boomers are not afraid of long work hours and have a strong work ethic and commitment.  They like to communicate in person and still appreciate the value of hand-written notes and letters. 


Each generation has so much to teach the others. Instead of complaining about the differences, celebrate what’s unique about the generations.  Multiple generations working together can create a stronger, more efficient workplace. 


For another personal perspective on Generation Z, check out Who is Generation Z? My Wife & I have Three of Them! blog by President, Eric Spell.