Managing Gen X and Gen Y in the Call Center

Mohan Nair

Generation X (aged 26 – 46) and Generation Y (aged 18 to 28) form the core of present day’s and the future contact centre workforce. Gen X and Gen Y are highly educated, technologically literate and networked socially. They have high expectations of their leaders for guidance and career aspirations for their success.

These demographics have also grown-up in times of economic prosperity and have limited coping skills for today’s more challenging economic environment where they have to interact with Baby Boomers and other generations including the silent generation before baby boomers. The aging of the workforce and the increased focus on ongoing healthcare, retirement and pensionable benefits within the organization, is causing many organizations to review the cost of carrying high costs for staffing within the new economic model.


In leading contact centers, complaints are increasingly seen as sources of valuable insight, rather than irritating distractions. In today’s climate. However, the value is created not by dealing with one complaint at a time, but as groups, expressing the true 'Voice of the Customer'. How do best-in-class, customer-centric, businesses extract this freely given value? Skills such as encouraging customers to talk and provide feedback, to managing customer responses to complaints and listening to the ‘Voice of Customer,' whilst setting priorities within your contact centre, involves several key elements for a winning recipe.

The current turmoil has spawned a great sense of urgency for businesses to respond to by reducing their workforce, while trimming capital spending as they scramble to cut costs and preserve shrinking profits.

Many face the reality of restructuring and downsizing, including business giants like AIG, Sony Corporation, and Nortel, who had announced massive restructuring plans. For many business leaders managing large-scale restructuring, it is easy to get lost in the challenges of immediate financial & organizational pressures, without giving much thought to maintaining employee engagement, motivation, & strong employee relations.

This can affect employees' long term performance and can lead to a detrimental effect on your business. This presentation will take you through the systematic change processes that will enable organizations to move forward, positioning themselves for growth in the economic recovery period.

The war for talent has also begun and more organizations are seeking innovative ways to recruit, train and retain talent within Gen X and Gen Y demographics as the Baby Boomers are planning their retirement, planning programs for the transfer of skills, knowledge and expertise. Nowhere is this more critical than the contact centre industry which historically has struggled with high attrition rates.

Coupled with this new phenomenon that appeared a decade ago at the turn of the century, many thought leaders and strategists within key industries have approached their national leaders to focus on skills for the new economy including technology spending and leadership training in colleges and universities. Subjects like environmental sciences and biotechnology has inspired new innovative ideas like voice recognition and intelligent routing within a contact centre. Seamless data flowed through sites and time zones to enable and empower employees to serve and manage customer relationships 24/7.

The industry has been shaped significantly by these Gen X and Gen Y ideas, fueled by the inspiration from the Baby Boomers. Never has the world seen collaboration and innovation amongst three, perhaps four, different generations in a workplace environment. This means the call center manager has to be equally equipped with the knowledge, skills and tactics to survive in a most unforgiving workplace environment.

The shortage of talent has placed added stress to HR managers and Contact Centre leaders where outsourcing as an option creates other challenges. What to do? This seminar will be able to shed some light on key tactics and strategic options you can choose to avoid the problems that other organizations faced a few years ago. Two case studies will also be reviewed.

In this seminar, Mohan will discuss the lessons learned from select organizations and the emerging trends that HR departments are commonly seeing within the workplace environment specific to the contact centre profession.

1) Daily Interactions with Gen X, Y and Baby Boomer Employees
2) Expectations of workplace from Gen X, Y and Baby Boomer Staff
3) Career Aspirations, Pay and Work-Life Balance, Can they co-exist?