It is crazy to me how when I was scrolling through TikTok, I saw so many videos of differences between Millennials and Gen Z. They each grew up in different times but have had to endure a lot along the way. Looking at the way each generation was born has an impact on what they will be like in the workforce. This can give your company various perspectives on innovation, skill diversity, understanding of customers, and lead to better decision making. Here are a few of the similarities and differences in the workplace based on how each generation has grown up.
Technology, open communication, and struggling economies are something that both millennials and Gen Z grew up with that have impacted what these generations of employees value in their workplace.
1. They want their company and themselves to contribute to the greater good to help benefit the world.
These demographics want to work for a socially responsible company that best aligns with their values of helping society. If a company is willing to show that they care about the impact they have on helping the environment and societal causes, millennials and Gen Z are more likely to want to work with these kinds of companies. They want a company that truly cares and is willing to do something about issues in the world.
2. Both generations want to use technology.
Since each demographic uses technology in their daily lives, they want to be able to use that in the workplace. It makes it frustrating to work for a company that isn’t working with the latest technology to help advance the employee’s work. Learning and utilizing new technology comes easier to these generations as they are digital natives and digital pioneers who are always connected and apply digital solutions to work issues. If a business process is more efficiently digitized, they want their employers to put in the extra costs to accommodate this.
3. They expect consistent feedback with clear communication.
Both generations grew up with open communication, and they would rather have performance check-in meetings to meet their employer’s expectations and receive feedback. Millennials and Gen Z work better with continuous feedback which helps them improve on areas they might not have known they needed to work on. Communicating feedback is essential to helping them grow in the workplace.
4. These two generations favor instant gratification.
Both demographics appreciate the acknowledgment of their hard work, which then boosts their company morale. Performance-based incentives or recognition programs can mean a lot to your employees and make a difference in their work. Receiving instant gratification from an incentive, like receiving a gift card for putting in hard work to help boost a successful campaign and exceeding goals can help your employees work even harder with a more positive attitude.
5. Millennials and Gen Z both want an employer who cares about their wellbeing.
If your employees are not physically and emotionally healthy, it will impact your company’s health. Health is the wellness for success. It is important that your employees are taking their breaks, getting enough sleep, doing physical exercise, not working a great amount of overtime, focusing on what they enjoy outside of work, and having a good work-life balance.
Growing up in different generations has made an impact on differences Gen Z and millennials prefer in the workplace, such as what they want in incentives and preferences in management.
1. Millennials prioritize job flexibility while Gen Zers would instead prioritize job stability.
Millennials want a career that can be adaptable to them, and if they feel what they are currently doing in their career can no longer serve them how they wanted, they are not afraid to seek new employment. They want to keep learning and growing and want to be able to do the next best thing. Gen Z on the other hand, would more likely prioritize their job stability as they have been hit the hardest by unemployment recently. Tallo conducted a study on Gen Z in August of 2020 and found that 51% of employees in this generation would expect to stay at their very first full-time job for at least three years after high school. Gen Z is looking at the long-term career goal with the same company to try to work their way up.
2. Gen Z values their salary and career advancement, while millennials more so value a work-life balance.
The Gen Z employees are more motivated financially, and in order to advance in their careers, they are more open to training and education. They are willing to do what it takes to succeed even if that means more money and time spent on the training materials to do so. Millennials would prefer a positive work-life balance because they value experiences and enjoy benefits that contribute to this. They want to still be able to live their lives doing what they enjoy on the side, so having a work-life balance is critical when finding a job.
3. Millennials would rather receive encouraging feedback, while Gen Z would prefer receiving direct feedback.
Based on how each generation grew up, this has impacted the way they have and want to receive feedback. There has been a change in recent years in a parent’s mindset, that instead of making feedback sound fluffed, they now give more straightforward input to the way it is. Employers will need to understand the differences between giving feedback to a millennial, which would be more encouraging and positive. Providing feedback to a Gen Z should be more straight to the point, clear and direct. Knowing how each generation prefers feedback will help with communication.
4. Gen Z best responds to short-form video communication, while millennials are better responsive to visual and written communication.
Both generations favor Instagram but use different social media platforms more often than the other. Millennials spend more time on social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, while Gen Z spends more of their time using YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat. Using this information, the leader in the workplace can connect with their millennial employees by using visual images and words through PowerPoint and creating guidelines that are written. At the same time, it would be better to show Gen Z a short-form video to help guide them as they like to see content for better explanation and doing the act for a better visual.
Millennials and Gen Z have similarities and differences in the workplace, but understanding these differences between the generations can make a huge difference in the workplace. Managers should give millennials flexibility and mobility by exploring different roles they are good at and enjoy. They need to see the bigger picture on projects and their reasons for helping do good for social causes or the environment to see the greater impact they’re making.
Managers of Gen Z should show their support for causes they care about as a company and be ethical and fair as a boss. A company should clearly lay out to Gen Z the opportunities and advancement within the company while also investing in training them. They will more likely want to be with a company of this matter and will be more committed to staying long-term. No matter what generation you’re working with, I hope this helps you navigate your way working with different generations and we can all come together to be a united and strong workforce.