The generational changing of the guard is a fact of life as old as time. Young replaces old in responsibility, importance, control and culture. Outside of the family, the workplace is perhaps where this is seen most regularly by most people. And the transition is not always smooth. Baby boomers in their time were seen as ushering in a cultural shift. In today’s workplace, the clash of culture between boomers and millennials has been much discussed.
But this time around, some predict that there will be far less of a clash between millennials and the group just starting to enter the workplace: Generation Z. Various definitions exist, but most identify those that belong to this demographic as being born after 1995.
A blog for Deloitte titled “Generation Z will be welcomed” cites data suggesting that, “Millennials tend to have a broadly positive opinion of GenZ (those currently aged 18 or younger).” Deloitte research indicates that about 61 percent of millennials believe GenZ will have a positive impact in the workplace—67 percent of millennials in senior positions believe this will be the case; 70 percent of those in emerging markets agree. Deloitte posits that this is, “Maybe because of perceptions that they have strong information technology skills and the ability to think creatively.
This doesn’t mean that GenZ will be able to smoothly transition into an increasingly millennial-dominated business world. The post points out that millennials believe that GenZ will need to work on developing their “softer skills.” Millennials in senior positions, particularly—those most likely to be supervising their GenZ colleagues, “consider GenZ to be underprepared as regards professionalism and personal traits such as patient, maturity, and integrity.”
Nevertheless, while millennials see room to grow for GenZ, millennials appear ready and willing to welcome them with open arms and to begin showing their tech-savvy younger siblings the ropes.
Conflict can be healthy for companies, and there is certainly benefit to having different cultural points of view represented in an organization. For that reason, the conflicts — real or perceived — between boomers and millennials may not necessarily be a negative. Time will tell whether the anticipated collegiality between millennials and GenZ will be beneficial.
How are you poised to begin welcoming GenZ to your workplace? Be inclusive!