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Gen X vs Gen Y in the Workplace: Making Generational Differences Work

Gen X vs Gen Y in the Workplace: Making Generational Differences Work

If you’re a member of Gen X, you’ve likely heard someone in your age group utter that infamous phrase: “Ugh, Millennials!” …you know, the same phrase Baby Boomers uttered about your generation a few decades ago? Whether you’re a member of Gen X or Gen Y, here’s how to make generational differences work in the workplace.

As in any multi-generational situation, frustrations are expected. If you’re a Gen Y worker (born 1977-2002*) or a Gen X worker (born 1965-1980), you are part of the largest segment of employees in America… and you’ll be colleagues for a long time, so it’s time to figure out how to work well together.

When it comes to bridging generational gaps, understanding generational differences and building on commonalities is key.


Gen X GEn Y Gen X vs Gen Y in the Workplace: Making Generational Differences Work


Bridging the Gap

Believe it or not, Generation X and Y actually have a lot in common – and they can create great teams if they are given the space to do what they do best.

• Social responsibility, desire for work-life balance, want to have fun, keep things moving, productivity versus process, forward-thinking.

Building on Strengths:
• If you have a project that requires multi-tasking and technology and you have time to actively supervise and provide feedback – assign it to Gen Y. They want engagement.
• If you have a project that needs to get done and you have little time for supervision – trust Gen X to take care of it. They want freedom.

See your Colleague as a Person First:
• Think beyond stereotypes. Try to step back and think of the other generation as a person first. Imagine them as someone you know outside of work of a similar age. This can help you to relate to them in human terms rather than in terms of competition or a source of aggravation.

At Good.Co, we believe that part of working well with others is understanding yourself and knowing where you belong, no matter what generation you are.


*There is no general consensus re: dates for Gen Y so we refer to the broadest range. Narrower ranges include 1978-1989, 1981-1995, 1982-2004.



As Good.Co's Digital Marketing Manager, Lisa has the pleasure of spending her days engaging with the Good.Co community and talking, tweeting and blogging about workplace happiness. Say hi to Lisa on Twitter: @LisaChatroop