Differences between Millennials and Gen Z in the Workplace

gen z workers

Differences between Millennials and Gen Z in the Workplace

Key Takeaways

 

  • Millennials and Gen Z prefer to be in a company where they can be the best version of themselves.
  • They want to maximize their potential while learning new skills in a highly collaborative and supportive environment.
  • Millennials are identified by the dramatic perspective they brought to various organizations when they entered the workforce. Such adjustments are being amplified by Gen Zers.

A group of Gen Z workers in a office staring at a MacBook.

What are Millennials VS Gen Z?

 

Say hello to the collaboration generation!

What You Should Know About Millennials

 

The Millennial Generation (born 1981–1995) is 76 million strong, and many managers seem to have great difficulty understanding and inspiring them. 

And that’s a problem seeing as they make up 35 percent of today’s workforce, a percentage that will grow to 40 percent by 2025. 

What You Should Know About Gen-Z

 

In the U.S., Generation Z (born 1996 – 2010) is composed of more than 66 million young people born between 1995 and 2010, which makes up 20% of the U.S. population. In Canada, they number 6.6 million, or 17.6% of the population. 

Traits of  Millennials VS Gen Z

Interesting Things You Need to Know About Millennials

 

Millennials are tech-savvy, ambitious, and fond of working in teams; have the desire to make the world a better place, and like to do things their way. Unfortunately, some managers see them as lazy, entitled, self-focused, and impatient—hence difficult to manage.  The truth is that Millennials offer a set of skills and a mindset that fits well with the challenges facing organizations today. 

As a manager, you need to understand how this generation thinks, what they are looking for in the workplace, and how to inspire them to contribute their unique talents. 

Millennials were raised in a time of relative prosperity by Baby Boomers and Gen X parents who wanted to give the best to their children. However, growing up they experienced quite a number of domestic and international terrorism and violence. Hence, many have developed a big-picture view and hunger for things to be better in their world. More likely, they enter a workplace filled with employees from at least four different generations. 

Some workplaces may even include members of a fifth generation, the 4% of the Silent Generation who are still working. Each brings their own set of perspectives, values, behaviors, and preferences that will influence how they go about work and how they work with other generations. Getting to know each generation is the first step toward creating thriving, harmonious workplaces where cross-generational collaboration and innovation can take place. 

Millennials hope to better the world! They have the idealism to envision a better future and the skills and savvy to make it happen whether it is helping the poor, saving the environment, or ending homelessness.

Interesting Things You Need to Know About Gen Z

 

With Generation Z growing up and beginning to enter the workforce, the question arises: Are organizations ready to attract, support, engage and retain Generation Z talent? 

To fully understand Generation Z as employees and team members, it is important to start by recognizing the various social events and contexts that have shaped their generational cohort. First, Generation Z has never known a world without the internet. For much of their lives, Gen Zers have actively used smartphones, tablets, and mobile technology. While older generations also use these devices, they’ve had to adapt and learn, whereas internet and mobile technology have been intertwined in Generation Z’s upbringing; impacting how they communicate, connect, learn, seek information, behave as consumers and navigate the world.

 

Gen Z Vs Millennials at Work

Understanding Millennials at Work

 

<p> <img src="Millennialspriorities.jpg" alt="A text showing what millennials want when it comes to choosing a work environment."> It is a list containing four of their main needs </p>

Millennials have a lot to offer an organization—in short, they are a trusting and optimistic generation that is tech-savvy far beyond earlier generations. They can absorb large amounts of data, and they place a high value on social causes in which they can band together with others to achieve change. They are highly educated and want to contribute, though they do get impatient at times. 

Hence, it is important that you understand this generation of associates and how to inspire them—not manage them and just deal with them. And, as a manager, learning how to inspire Millennials to genuinely want to make profound contributions to your organization can help you successfully outperform your competitors. Millennials are a generation in search of meaning in their lives— they want to know they are making a difference through their work, their volunteer activities, and their lives in general.  In short, they enjoy doing meaningful work and embracing new challenges regularly.  

Also known as digital natives, they are technology experts. They have a zest for innovation and an ability to use the information to create innovation. They tend to view coworkers, and even their managers, as people with whom to collaborate—they do not like to feel subordinate to someone, but rather prefer to be treated as a colleague who has something to contribute.

Understanding Gen-Z at Work

 

<p> <img src="genzpriorities.jpg" alt="A text showing what gen z want when it comes to choosing a work environment."> It is a list containing four of their main needs </p>

When Gen Zers enter the workplace, they won’t be joining organizations solely made up of peers from their cohort. More likely, they will enter a workplace comprised of employees from at least four different generations. 

Some workplaces may even include members of a fifth generation, the 4% of the Silent Generation who are still working. Each brings their own set of perspectives, values, behaviors, and preferences that will influence how they go about work and how they work with other generations. Getting to know each generation is the first step toward creating thriving, harmonious workplaces where cross-generational collaboration and innovation can take place. 

Gen Z hopes to better the world! They have the idealism to envision a better future and the skills and savvy to make it happen whether it is helping the poor, saving the environment, or ending homelessness.

Regardless of the generation you work with, communication is key to a well-functioning team! Taking a DISC assessment will help you understand yourself and various personalities within your team. Take it today for free!

 

Millennials VS Gen Z Attention Span

 

According to Online Optimism, the Gen Z generation has a shorter attention span than the Millennials.

“While many may argue that Millennials grew up around the same technology, their attention span is slightly longer, at about 12 seconds

This could be due to them not always having widespread access to technology in early childhood like Gen Z has. 

Gen Z grew up in a highly stimulating environment. With technology constantly being a part of their upbringing, they became used to always seeing something new. 

Whether it was an advertisement for a new product or a new piece of technology, Gen Z was constantly introduced to new things. Growing up in the Digital Age, it became customary to have multiple devices in one household. 

Anything from smartphones to computers to gaming systems was a traditional thing to see. 

With multiple devices, this generation became used to multitasking and jumping between activities at a high rate. 

In addition, Gen Z grew up having any information they needed right at their fingertips. This accessibility eventually led to Gen Z individuals developing shorter attention spans.”

 

Millennial VS Gen Z When it Comes to Remote Work

 

Millennials– Fit for Remote Work?

 

Can Millennials be trusted to work remotely? 

The answer is yes. 

For Millennials, being available (online) most time is all they know. Because they are often on their phone; checking their email, social media, texting and making calls. Many of their technologies are used socially and can be adjusted to have the same attitude professionally. 

Based on the 2016 Millennial Survey by Deloitte; 16.8 percent of Millennials grade career opportunities by great work-life balance, followed by 13.4 percent who look for opportunities to progress and 11 percent who seek flexibility; for example, remote working and flexible hours.  

The generation of Millennials is looking to have a good time and get paid for doing it! This mentality can be very effective for your company. For a Millennial remote worker to be successful, you need to give them responsibility so they can measure and track their progress. Millennials like to see the impact that they have on the company with numbers and evaluations. Like most employees, they want to be independent in their work and have less of a micromanager in their space. Employers, you need to give Millennials a chance before assuming they will not be successful remote workers. 

 

Gen Z– Fit for Remote Work?

 

Gen Zers love flexibility; they don’t see working hours strictly between 9 am and 5 pm, and many prefer working very early or late in the day and on weekends. Glassdoor did a study, and flexible work hours were listed in the top three “pros” of working at their job, right after the work environment. Flexible work options are attractive to Generation Zers as they can structure their work and personal life to fit their needs and interests. 

Digital technology has enabled more opportunities for remote work or hybrid work options. However, while they desire a flexible work structure, Gen Zers do not necessarily embrace a remote work culture. As Covid-19 drove the world’s largest remote work experience; Generation Zers, despite their technological prowess, found working from home much more challenging than their older colleagues. They expressed feeling less productive and satisfied. Working remotely may be having an alienating effect on some.

 

Professional Leadership Institute (PLI) is an educational website providing professionals from all types of businesses with practical education in human resources and leadership. To keep evolving your leadership toolkit, additional PLI resources below will be useful:

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