Managing Relationships Between Millennials and Gen Zers

Joe Weinlick
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Younger generations commonly disrupt the labor force when they enter the workplace. This is not a bad thing, as disruptions move industries forward and help companies keep up with current trends. To that end, learn how to manage work relationships between millennial and generation Z workers who may feel threatened by each other.

Start with Leadership

When managing work relationships between two generations, company leaders must recognize that younger workers represent the future of the company rather than a threat to its existence. Younger generations are eager to learn, and they want to soak up knowledge. It's up to leaders to foster an environment where they help millennial and generation Z workers succeed and move up the corporate ladder.

Maintain Communication

Communication is one key to enhancing work relationships. Listen to feedback from both millennial and generation Z workers about new ideas and innovations. Diverse ideas lead to greater flexibility and collaboration. Communication also creates a better sense of teamwork and helps ensure everyone is on the same page. Understand that different people may have different communication preferences, whether it's face-to-face communication or a simple email.

Effective communication also requires constant feedback from managers. Explain to employees that constructive criticism is not a personal attack, but rather a way to help them improve their productivity, work relationships and overall employee engagement. Give workers positive feedback when they perform at or above expectations.

It's a good idea to check in with everyone on your team once per week to learn of any challenges, issues or concerns voiced by members of your group. That way, you can attempt to solve any problems with workplace issues or relationships before they exacerbate. If a single toxic employee is ruining the team, it's best to handle the situation as quickly as possible to prevent trouble later on.

Train Supervisors and Managers

Train your supervisors and managers to fix any work relationships that cross generational lines. Managers should understand the different work styles, communication preferences, habits and values of millennials and generation Zers. Managers who have the right leadership skills are more effective at creating a collaborative environment. Try using team building exercises to bring members of both generations together. These exercises can happen outside of the workplace in a relaxing setting where people enjoy each other's company.

Recognize the Benefits of Diversity

Leadership must understand that diversity in an organization is a good thing. Diversity leads to better decision-making, more innovations and an inclusive, collaborative environment. Understand how the strengths of each team member contributes to the company's success. When each team member feels valued, the generation divide weakens and may eventually disappear.

Work relationships should ideally create a synergistic balance between all members of your team, even when there are two different generations working in the same space. Once you learn how to manage two dynamic groups, you can take your company to new heights.

Photo courtesy of Mehri Doyle at


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