Office dynamics are generally characterized by the people working in them. More often than not you’ll find that each office building is filled with a multigenerational workforce, which also something that can make or break said dynamics. Not to mention, the team effort and collaboration processes.
Today in 2020, you’ll find an incredibly impressive and also somewhat impalpable mixture of generations working side by side. The newest being the Millennials, and Gen Z. It’s not only a generational gap that employers must find a way to connect with, but also a gap in skillsets, goals, needs, ambitions, expectations, and so on.
In this article, we’re going to dive into the key differences between the Gen Zers and Millennials in the workforce and discuss what makes them unique and what makes them tick. Keep reading to learn more.
The Gen Z Generation and the Millennials
The most obvious difference between the Gen Z and Millenial generations is age. Millennials were born between 1980 and 1995 while Gen Zers were born between 1996 and 2010. Interestingly enough, Millennials are the most studied generation, noteworthy for their ambition, drive, confidence, and for being the first to experience the digital world early on. Gen Zers on the other hand, are incredibly similar to Millennials, but with a few not so slight differences.
The primary difference between the two generations is that Gen Zers were born and baptized into the digital world. They were exposed to a wide range of digital toys, i.e., mobile smartphones, tablets, laptops, various gaming systems, etc. However, early exposure isn’t necessarily what separates the two characteristically similar generations in the workplace. Rising costs of education and essential elements like lack of job security, benefits, and advancements to name a few, is where the generations differ in how they approach the job market.
Millennials vs Gen Z in the Work Place
Each generation brings new obstacles and challenges to the workplace.
Recruiting and Hiring
In terms of recruitment, appealing to Gen Zers takes a different approach than appealing to Millennials. Millennials value things like position, income, and job security. Gen Zers value things like diversity and work-life balance. That’s not to say that Millennials don’t value these things, however, Millennials are can be bogged down by immense college debt. Therefore, adequate income becomes a major concern.
Education is another area where the two generations differ, as many of the Gen Z generation either have challenges financing traditional higher education or aren’t interested in the typical path towards one. A lack of debt is something that makes income a non-consequence when searching for a job. Of course, Gen Z’s use of multiple digital platforms from a young age has unassumingly increased their cognitive abilities such as absorbing information at a higher capacity.
The takeaway? From a recruiter’s standpoint, employers need to invest in more on the job training tools and resources to attract Gen Z applicants. Additionally, a college degree will have to become a consideration rather than a requirement.
It’s safe to say that since both generations grew up in the digital age, they can handle all types of technology with ease. However, due to the fact that Gen Zers were exposed to much more digital everything, their ability to multi-task is unparalled. In other words, where Millennials may become more distracted by emails, updates, and apps, Gen Z is more inclined to pay simultaneous attention to their work and interferences as they’re used to the excess stimuli.
Gen Zers are also surprising in their preference of face time—and we’re not talking about the app. A world wide study comparing generational gaps in the workplace shows that 53% of the Gen Z generation prefers in-person communications.
The reasoning for an interpersonal connection? Potentially from watching Millennials rely on technology to communicate—and struggle to do so.
Both generations are very much team-oriented and work well in collaboration. However, Generation Z is noticeably more independent, more competitive, and more entrepreneurial. While Millennials have the actual preference to work as a team to advance their company’s goals, Gen Zers want to be judged based on their own merits rather than the team effort.
The issue that comes between the two generations is dependence. With more Gen Zers foregoing traditional university higher education than their Millennial counterparts, their ability to self-teach and work independently contributes to their desire to show off their skills and talents. They understand the need for consistent skill-development to remain relevant and the hard work it takes to achieve success.
So, what does it all mean? Gen Zers can collaborate with ease, but they’d prefer to work hard and prove themselves. They also expect to be acknowledged for that hard work.
Millennials might be the “original digital natives,” but the Gen Z generation are the “true digital natives.” What’s the difference? Landlines and dial-up connections versus smartphones and WiFi. Millennials are used to things taking time, so to speak, while Gen Zers were bombarded with a high-speed multi-app experience. Generation Z’s relationship to technology is much more instinctual than their Millennial predecessors.
That means they’ll pick up on new apps, platforms, and software integrations at lightning speed while Millennials may take a while.
Needs and Expectations
The needs and expectations of all generations are very similar. Both Gen Zers and Millenials expect their workplace to conform to their needs. Both generations are rather pragmatic in wanting to be recognized for their achievements, serve a purpose, and make a difference in the world. They’re also both driven by income and job security.
Both generations expect to be treated as equals. They understand the hierarchy of the workplace, however, they expect respect. They’re present to work hard and to achieve the objectives at hand—not tirelessly serve your every need.
Embrace the Gap
Ultimately, the differences between the two most prominent generations in the workforce are minimal at best. Both the Gen Z and Millennial generations are known to challenge and transform the status quo, which is something that can improve workplace issues that have become the norm. Both generations can learn a lot from each other, and so can those in managerial and executive positions.
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