Generation Z Appears To Mimic Some Traits That Boomers Use Successfully in Workplace

23 Mar, 2020 Chriss Swaney


Sarasota, FL ( - A new survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employees from Reflektive, suggests that Generation Z’s attitudes about what is and isn’t appropriate at work - in terms of  physical  contact, flirtation, and fraternization-  are more closely aligned with Boomers.  

The survey reports that Generation Z like Boomers are less touchy- feely than Millennials and Generation X.  As for physical contact with colleagues of the opposite sex, Gen Z is on board with handshakes, high fives and fist bumps. But beyond that, Gen Z and Boomers are much more conservative than the generations that separate them, and there is a sharp divergence with what contact they find acceptable relative to Millennials and Gen X, according to Reflektive, a performance management platform. Gen Z is used to refer to people born between 1995 and 2015.

“There’s a temptation to just lump Gen Z and Millennials together, but it’s clear that while they share some priorities, they don’t share others,’’ said Reflektive CEO Greg Brown. “Our research suggests that while Millennials and Gen X enjoy a more casual work environment, Gen Z may be influential in returning a greater professionalism to work. This is a perfect example of diversity in the workplace and why performance management can be a tricky business and why employers are well-served to invest in performance management solutions that support the way people really work can help them best manage the diverse needs; no matter the different generations,’’ said Brown.

Brown points out that Gen Z keeps surprising us. “The data reveals they are far more focused on their individual contributions in the workplace than on other, more tangential aspects of work, such as their environment. They are performance-based and want frequent feedback from their managers. It is important that managers understand generational differences in their team and ensure that all employees have the tools and support they need to deliver optimal results,’’ said Brown.

The survey also found that Gen Z and Boomers seem to share a greater sense of  propriety at work generally.  For example, Gen Z (75 percent) and Boomers (80 percent) are significantly more likely than Millennials (48 percent) and Gen X (56 percent) to say sitting on a colleague’s lap during work hours reflects poorly on a person’s professional reputation, according to the survey.

While many Millennials and Gen X flirt at work – a minority even say they’d flirt to get  a promotion (13 percent) or on a bet (8 percent) – 81 percent of Boomers and 21 percent of Gen Z say they never do, the survey found.

Other findings in the survey showed Gen Z also seems to maintain better boundaries between their work and personal lives. Even though Gen Z has grown up with social media, they are significantly less likely to follow their managers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Pinterest, or TikTok than Millennials or Gen X. In fact, 44 percent don’t follow their managers on any social media platforms, compared to just 30 percent of Millennials and 39 percent of Gen X, Reflektive found.

The survey found that Gen Zs also dislike any kind of closeness at work.  “And Gen Z’s preference for avoiding close physical contact at work may help stem the transmission of the coronavirus. Of course, there are other ways the virus can be transmitted, so it is important to follow CDC recommendations,’’ Brown said.


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    About The Author

    • Chriss Swaney

      Chriss Swaney is a freelance reporter who has written for Antique Trader Magazine, Reuters, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, the Burlington Free Press, UPI, The Tribune-Review and the Daily Record.

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