The 21st century saw old and newer generations co-populating the workforce, with those in the retirement age of 60 choosing to extend their working years until they’re in their 70s.
HBR describes it as a social phenomenon where five generations – traditionalists, baby boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z – are seen to be working side by side. At the same time, studies point out that by 2025, the generation of Millennials will comprise the majority of the workforce – three-quarters to be more specific.
These statistics show that the generations of Millennials and Gen Z will be dominating the workplace in the near future. It’s therefore important for your HR team, recruitment firm, and hiring managers to get to know Millennials and Gen Z individually, especially their work styles and ethics so that you could provide them the best work environment possible.
Here’s a glimpse of who the Millennials and Generation Z are as two distinct demographics in today’s workforce—with each having unique skills and traits that could affect the way they view or pursue success in the workplace.
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Range of Birth Years
Millennials (also known as Generation Y) were born between the years 1977 and 1997, while Generation Zs (also known as Edgers, Plurals, iGen, Gen 2020, Centennials, and Post-Millennials) were born after 1997, making them the youngest batch of employees in the global workforce.
The idea of work-life balance is a top priority among Millennials. This means being able to keep a healthy personal life outside of work. Millennials don’t live to work, but they view work as a means to help them lead a sufficient life.
Life, in general, may not be fair, but post-Millennials will refuse to accept that mindset in the workplace. They are bent on making equality, diversity, and inclusivity part of the corporate culture, as they encourage employers to hire without bias against any race, religion, gender, social, political, or religious backgrounds.
What Motivates Them
Millennials are dedicated employees who expect their employers to reward them with opportunities for career growth. Whether it’s a leadership role, promotion, or lateral movement within the organization, Millennials are hoping that companies will support them in their craft while uplifting someone’s life through the work they do.
For Gen Z, however, work becomes more attractive when the paycheck is good. This may be attributed to the fact that they would not want to be subjected to the same financial woes that befell their parents during their time. So, between making a difference in society and having a secure life outside of work, Gen Z will have no trouble choosing the latter.
The saying “two heads are better than one” characterizes Millennial employees. Cooperative and team-oriented, Millennials in the workplace have no difficulty working with a group to achieve a common objective. By contrast, 71% of Gen Z see their colleagues as competition and would rather rely on their abilities to get the job done.
In work setup, both Millennials and Gen Z thrive in conditions and environments that offer flexibility in the way they work. Remote work and flexible hours are very appealing for the Millennial workforce, while a commanding 69% of Gen Z see personal workspaces as more conducive than if they were to share their space with their co-employees.
How They Welcome Changing Roles
Job hopping is very common among Millennials, with 21% of them changing jobs more than three times compared with non-Millennials, according to a 2016 report from Gallup. This makes it imperative for you to be proactively looking for candidates who might be showing signs of weariness at their current roles and be prepared to help them transfer their skills to other departments within your organization.
Similarly, Gen Z employees feel more engaged when they’re tapped for various roles or projects in the company. For this generation, being able to wear multiple hats makes them more versatile and more suitable for the on-demand work culture that’s prevailing in the corporate space.
Both Millennials and Gen Z are technologically savvy, but their level of expertise varies to some degree. Millennials saw the rise of the widespread use of the internet, social media, and smartphones, making them pioneers of the digital age. They were quick to learn the tools of technology and apply digital solutions to everyday work problems.
On the other hand, post-Millennial individuals breathe technology, having been born at the time of the digital age. Gen Zs are perennially connected to the internet of things and can instinctively work their way through it with their mobile or desktop devices. No wonder they expect company systems and operations to be digital or cloud-based.
Method of Communication
How Millennial and Gen Z employees prefer to communicate is also quite different, with the former being less personable.
Email and instant messaging platforms are popular among Millennial employees, whereas more than 50% of the Gen Z workforce choose to have regular in-person meetings to gather feedback and discuss their plans for project assignments with their team and managers. This is because of the negative effects they have observed with how Millennials communicate using digital tools.
Views About Education
Formal education has always been a prerequisite for professional work. With the changing times, however, online learning has gained more prominence and acceptance among employees and employers alike.
Millennials and Gen Z are one in recognizing the value of less formal styles of learning where one gets to acquire on-demand knowledge and skills. It then becomes your responsibility in HR to design and offer opportunities for further learning for your employees whether through an online course, on-the-job training, or offline modes.
Other Relevant Qualities
Millennials were born between the years 1977 and 1997 to Baby Boomer parents who had a relatively prosperous and fruitful professional life. Because of this, Millennials are perceived to be more optimistic than Gen Z who are more pragmatic in their viewpoint.
In this sense, you might see more of your Gen Z employees being more adept at multitasking and learning as much as they can in preparation for building their startup in the future.
Managing a pool of talent can be a great challenge, considering they have individual traits, skills, and needs in the workplace. You could have a mix of Millennial and Gen Z employees in your organization, but as long as you know the things that matter to them, you easily set them up for a successful career along with growth for your business.
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