How will the Trend of a Generational Shift affect your Workplace? (For Older Workers)

The Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce. Gen Z is coming quickly and will equal the Millennials. How will that disrupt your workplace?

This article specifically addresses Baby Boomers and Generation X and working with Gen Y and Z. For those of you in Gen Y and Z, please read this so you know what to ask for. But don’t miss the next post that focuses on what you can do to find your opportunities.

This is the fourth post in a series detailing the 5 Trends that will Disrupt Every Business within the next 5 Years. Earlier we discussed “How will Technology Disrupt your Work?” In this post and the next one, we examine how an the generational shift will challenge us very quickly.

Murfield Coaching works to help individuals and organizations think bigger and reach higher to do what others never thought possible. This often includes creating a culture of compassion to engage and empower teams to become disruptive leaders. When we take the effort to care and connect, we can collaborate and create the ultimate performance, production and profits. 

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Did you realize that Millennials (born 1980-1999) are now largest segment of employees in the workforce? By now you know that they have no trouble questioning authority and change jobs every few years. Everyone knows that they are very savvy with the social media and socially conscious. Did you know that their attention span is only 12 seconds?

Learn to Listen Effectively


You might thing that Gen Z (born 2000 to present) follow in their older sibling’s footsteps but they travel a slightly different path. There is no question that they love their phones but don’t change jobs as much (from what we have seen so far. Instead they like to change roles instead of jobs. Maybe that is because they are more pragmatic having watched that earlier generation struggle with heavy student loans and a poor job market. Because of those phones and other technology, their attention span is only 8 seconds.

Become a Disruptive Leader

The Reaction

For some years many pushed back against the Millennials because they didn’t play by the rules or “color within the lines.” Even today many wonder what it takes to keep them as employees.

A Different Approach

To track the trends and forecast the opportunities, we are wise to ask a different question about the generational shift. Instead of asking, “how can we get them to comply?” we are better off asking, “what can we learn from them?” and “how can we leverage their power to make our organizations better?”

Instead of fighting with them, see how you can work together.

Become a Disruptive Leader

Your Checklist

First, Collaborate.

Let’s face it, they love to ask “Why?” That is uncomfortable for those that don’t want to change but perfect for those looking to find the most disruptive opportunities. Defying cultural norms is second nature to them, unlike older workers who have grown accustomed to “not rocking the boat.” Instead of seeing their approach as a challenge, embrace it and see what you can do together. Quit Competing – Start Collaborating.

Second, Diversify.

Purposely attract younger workers into your circle. Notice I didn’t just say “hire them.” The most important part is to make them a part of your team. That creates a diversity of thinking that is one of the best ways to discover new opportunities. After all, as Edison said, we don’t solve new problems with our old ways of thinking. Diversify to innovate.

Third, Let them Stretch Your Traditional Thinking

Don’t just bring them into your team, give them a voice and a role. Ask them to push the boundaries. Invite them to show you how your current methods are outdated or not desirable for their generation. Are you that brave?

Fourth, Purposely Pursue Innovation.

Millennials and Generation Z are used to creating. Give them a voice in creating something that will change the world. Notice the shift here. Instead of replicating, purposely pursue innovation. Go out of your way to do something different. If for no other reason, try a different way, change seats, wear different attire, or even change roles. Innovation often comes from a different perspective.

Fifth, Explore a New Business Model

OK, this might challenge your basic assumptions but I’m going to suggest it anyway. Challenge the way you do business. Instead of assuming the old way is best, use the generational shift to reconsider what you consider “best practices” and even the foundational way you do business. You might just find a better way to do business. At the same time, you might face being disrupted and displaced as others find better ways to make money.

Sixth, Explore New Markets.

Remember, these social media savvy team members live in a different world from those of us who are older. Collaborate with them to explore new markets. You will likely find that they understand niche’ markets better than you do. Let’s face it, they can help you open the door to their generation. They know what they want better than we do. By going niche’ and working with them, you will see previously hidden but unique tribes. That may open a new world for your products and services.

Seventh, Explore New Marketing Platforms.

With their built-in understanding of many different marketing platforms, collaborating with them will give your organization either a head start or energy to catch up. If you haven’t jumped on the mobile bandwagon, they can help you. The same holds with video. I’ll let you open the door by asking your employees.

Don’t be the stodgy old executive, embrace the generational shift, listen to them and collaborate with them to do what you never thought possible.

Like this post and follow this blog for my next post, which helps the younger generations capitalize on working with older generations.

(c) 2019 Murfield International, Inc.




Loren Murfield, Ph.D.

I work with leaders and organizations think bigger and reach higher to find breakthrough success. This is a process that I can help you learn. Begin the process today by contacting me. 

Start learning how you can engage employees during their most traumatic moments in our newly revised and just released book, “The ROI of COMPASSION.” Watch for the formal release of our new book, “Leading with the Power of Compassion” in July, 2019. (Soft release at the SHRM19 conference in June.)

ROI of Compassion 2018



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