top of page

How to understand and engage different generations in the workplace

It’s a frequent narrative in today’s corporate environment: the vast differences in needs among the various generations. The advice often revolves around tailoring leadership styles to reach, engage, and retain these distinct age groups. But is it as black and white as it seems?

Decoding generations X, Y, and Z

Generational labels are tempting shortcuts, and broad generalizations, like how “Generation Z” is drawn towards socially committed organizations with figures like Greta Thunberg as their compass, have become the norm. Yet, is this a holistic view?

Challenging preconceptions

A closer look reveals that differences within generations (such as work preferences) are often more pronounced than those between them. So while it might be enticing to attribute trends to generational gaps, this might be an oversimplification. The digital age, for instance, brought us closer to Greta Thunberg while also making us avid followers of Kim Kardashian. The divergence is real, but where does it truly lie?

Youth and the modern workplace

Alarmingly, today’s youth is often found grappling with basic psychological needs, leading to increased instances of depression and burnout. This isn’t just a generational challenge; it’s a societal one.

The root of basic needs

Tracing back to evolutionary motivations, our basic needs revolve around controlling our (social) environment. This can be broken down into the motives of progress, connectedness, and explanation. It’s essential to understand these as foundational elements before deriving solutions.

The role of social media and upbringing

While social media amplifies the challenges young people face, it isn’t the sole culprit. Factors like a shift in upbringing styles in the West, where real-world learning experiences might be diminishing, play a role.

Navigating identity in a complex world

In the journey of identity formation, young individuals often find themselves at a crossroads. The quest for autonomy clashes with the scarcity of relatable role models, making workplace integration a steeper hill to climb.

Bridging the gap

So, how do we bridge this divide? A conscious effort to understand and guide young talent is pivotal. Initiatives that pair them with seasoned professionals, not in a hierarchical manner but as collaborative partners, can pave the way for a workplace that fosters growth and satisfaction for all.

Ensuring a positive employee experience

A well-informed HR department, armed with actionable data and insights, can be the catalyst for positive change. Investing in tools like the EX-Scan can offer a deeper understanding of the true workplace dynamics, guiding strategies for an inclusive and vibrant organizational culture.


bottom of page