In the lifecycle of a business, employers need to prepare for a whole new generation of people entering the workforce. Right now, that means Millennials and Gen Zers.
These two generations bring with them new perspectives, personalities, and expectations. To put yourself in the best position to lead an ever-diversifying business, you need to understand the differences between Millennials and Gen Z.
Here, we discuss their core differences and expectations. With this information, your company can be better poised to attract fresh talent.
Millennials VS Gen Z: The Core Differences
Millennials and Gen Z are far more similar than they are different, but there are some contrasts. It is especially true as the age gap widens, with the oldest Millennial born in 1981 and the youngest Gen Z born in 2012. Let's take a closer look at how they may differ.
Millennials Are High-Achievers and Expect the Same From Management
The Millennial generation is the most studied in history. The generation born between 1981 and 1996 has grown through some significant changes on an international scale, both concerning technology and global politics.
While this generation got a bad rap for being ‘lazy,’ recent research has shown the opposite: Millennials are workaholics. The world has only grown increasingly competitive as time has gone on, especially within the business market, and the Millennial work ethic reflects this.
Due to this, Millennials also possess high expectations for their management. They are willing to work hard to achieve personal and business goals, provided that leadership reflects this dedication.
This expectation is primarily due to a rapidly changing work environment. Previous generations often had the same job for life. Millennials have grown through a time when consistently facing new challenges and taking on new roles is common. They expect management to show the same perseverance.
Gen Z Care Deeply About Social Issues
If the abundance of tweets and TikToks about the socio political state of the world didn't already give you a clue, Gen Z is very much involved with current events. More so than any generation before them (including Millennials), Gen Z is actively concerned with the state of the world and seeks to do their responsibility to change it.
Does this mean Millennials don't care about social issues? No, definitely not, as both Gen Zers and Millennials care about social issues. However, there is a unique difference in intensity between the two generations.
Granted, this is a generalization, but it is a distinction to take into account. Millennials closer to the Gen Z range (ergo, born closer to 1996) will likely share more of this intensity than older millennials.
Millennials Grew with the Internet
Millennials may have known a world without the internet, but they had to adjust to its monumental arrival.
The internet has changed the world in almost every conceivable way, especially with the advent of social media. The way we shop, communicate, and work is entirely different from how it used to be.
Millennials had to handle all of these curveballs thrown at them as they entered the workplace for the first time. The 2008 recession shaped this generation, putting them behind many previous ones. Plus, other developments like the rise of the gig economy also changed how they view the workplace.
This fluctuating environment had some benefits: it provided them with the ability to adapt to new situations quickly.
This adaptability is what can make them such great additions to the workforce. They can also be highly sociable and able to mix with a wide variety of people. The upbeat attitude makes adjusting to the work culture an easy task.
Gen Z Have Never Known a World Without Internet
It's quite the statement to take in, but it's true. Gen Zers, arguably even the oldest, have never known a world without the internet.
This fact brings a wide variety of unique characteristics, but the one that stands out the most is an expectation of connectedness.
Gen Z has never known a world where not everyone was contactable at any time. Nor have they known a time when information wasn't immediately at their fingertips. In some ways, they are internet-dependent.
Don't be surprised if this manifests in some slight impatience. Gen Z has grown up accustomed to immediate answers.
However, this isn't necessarily a negative. These young people are also masters at finding details quickly, which lends itself tremendously well to problem-solving.
Four Things That Millennials and Gen Z Want From an Employer
No matter how many ways these adjacent generations may differ, they possess a lot of similarities when it comes to what they expect from an employer.
Gen Z, and certainly Millennials, have been of working age for some years now. Some are likely already in your employment, so what do they expect from you?
Genuine Care About Their Wellbeing
It's no secret that both Gen Z and Millennials care about mental health and wellbeing. The Millennial generation saw mental health brought to the forefront of conversation for the first time, and Gen Z has only built on that.
This shared experience of growing up in an environment where feelings matter and shouldn't be suppressed extends to the workplace.
A team of Gen Z and Millennial employees will only be satisfied by emphasizing mental wellness.
A significant part of supporting the mental health of employees is demonstrating an understanding of their personal situations.
Previous generations may have tolerated — or even rewarded — an attitude to work where the job was your top priority, above all else.
The newer generations do not share this belief, and it isn't an indicator of a diminished work ethic. Instead, it demonstrates an understanding that good work is only possible with a healthy mind.
Strong Ethics, Top to Bottom
Millennials and Gen Z alike have grown up consuming mass media from all angles. Both generations have been forcefully kept up to date throughout their lives, whether it was broadcast television or a series of tweets that informed them.
It means they have witnessed a variety of unethical behaviors by companies, and it has taken its toll on who they are willing to trust.
Ultimately, the two youngest generations aren't willing to give 100% to a company that doesn't have the best interests of everyone in mind. They want some reassurance that what they do matters, not only to their superiors but to the world at large.
They expect bold action in the face of blatant injustice, and they demand no less from their employers. If you are wondering how this could apply to your workplace, boil it all down to a common denominator: professional trust.
Your business might not have the global outreach necessary to change the world, but that doesn't mean it can't operate with ethical practices. Encouraging an environment where employees trust one another, work in a cohesive team, and get rewarded for honesty are all a part of an ethical approach.
Try to instill this in your workplace and see how attitudes and productivity start to change.
Transparent Leadership with Open Communication
While this is especially true for the Millennials, it also applies to Gen Z employees. They expect honesty from their employers.
The emphasis on honesty from Millennials has an understandable basis: the 2008 financial crisis saw the professional rug pulled from millions. Though they may have only just been entering the working world at the time, these events have long-lasting impacts, and few find it easy to forget.
Essentially, Millennials were promised a strong economy and had no reason to doubt it. Instead, they received economic collapse. Dishonesty from the top down only made this sting more, and many still carry a strong distrust with them.
To truly ensure your team is onboard, stay honest with them. Share both the ups and downs of the business with your staff.
Transparent communication will encourage a true sense of teamwork and, ultimately, will breed professional loyalty.
Diversity and Inclusivity
Last but certainly not least on the list of priorities is diversity and inclusivity. As we mentioned above, no generation has cared about social justice quite as much as Gen Z. This might seem like an unfair assessment. Of course, previous generations did their fair share to build an equal society. However, few had access to the resources of newer generations, and it shows.
Gen Z, in particular, has grown up with increased awareness thanks to social media. They have only known a world where possessing acute social awareness and an opinion on everything was mandatory.
These young people expect their workplaces, and especially their leaders, to commit to the same rigorous standard. Inequality is no longer a remotely acceptable prospect, and you will misrepresent Gen Z employees by failing to drive it out.
Contact ScoutLogic Today!
To make a fully informed decision about whether an employee fits for your business, an employer needs to do their research. While you can learn a lot from which generation they come from, you would learn even more from a comprehensive background check.
At ScoutLogic, we ensure that you hire the people you need and who they say they are. If you need any assistance with your hiring process, don't hesitate to get in touch. Your new favorite employee is just one background check away!