While advice for companies looking to retain and attract Millennials is widespread, Millennials are no longer the newest faces in the office. Generation Z, people born between 1997 and 2012, are only now starting to enter the workforce.

With research consistently showing that Millennials and Gen. Z only plan to spend three years or less in a role, employee retention has never been more important. 

But, to retain your best and brightest, you have to understand what makes them tick and how you can tailor your workplace to meet their needs. After all, happy employees are far more likely to choose your company as the best place to grow and develop their careers.

So, What’s the Difference Between Millennials and Gen. Z?

Millennials are individuals born between 1981 and 1996. Today, they’re between the ages of 23 and 38, so are becoming more seasoned employees and settling into their careers. Since they’ve been a part of the workforce for some time, you’re probably already familiar with their habits like their digital-first attitudes and need for flexibility and mobility.

Gen. Z individuals share some of these attitudes and habits, but also have their own views on career development, stability and work ethic. They were raised in very different circumstances as they were still at home during the recession in 2008 and saw first hand the impact on their parents.  

Career Development Opportunities & Self-Learning

While primarily an American statistic, 75% of Gen. Z believe attending university is not the only way to get a good education. Gen Zers may have seen their parents struggle to raise university fees but grew up in a digital-friendly world where online tutorials and self-learning were possible. After all, they were born around the same time as YouTube -- the go-to place for DIY lessons and upskilling.

With a more open mindset towards learning, employers will need to consider new ways to evaluate skills. Does your new position really require a university degree? Likewise, you’ll also need to provide plenty of learning and upskilling opportunities to keep this youngest generation engaged. 

Independent, Solo Workers

Unlike their predecessors, Generation Z tends to steer away from opportunities for collaboration. Instead, operating with the mindset “if you want something done right, you need to do it yourself.”

Gen. Zers are more competitive and keen on flexible working. They want to manage their workloads to showcase their skills and abilities and appreciate opportunities to work independently. As a results-driven generation, Gen Zers want concrete outputs and clear KPIs.

One relatively easy way to support their more solo mindset is by providing a variety of workspaces. Break out areas allow employees to get away from their desk while private rooms let employees get their heads down when a deadlines’ looming on the horizon. 

Trusting them to manage their work and evaluating them based on the results will also allow you to support Gen. Z to be their best selves. 

Entrepreneurs Motivated by Security

Gen. Zers were still young kids when the economy crashed in 2008, so they may have watched as their parents took massive financial hits, lost their jobs, and struggled to make ends meet. So, it’s not surprising that Gen. Z want and need more security than Millennials. 

With a more pragmatic mindset, this generation wants financial security and are more likely to have a side job to diversify their income. 53% don’t rely solely on their job for pay. 

Driven by a strong desire to start their own businesses, Gen. Z is quickly becoming the side-hustle generation. 

As an employer, this means you’ll need to adopt a more open mindset and support Gen. Z to run a side-hustle away from work. Contacts that limit them to only working for your company might not fly! 

Create a Balance Between Culture and Pay

When you think about Millennials and Gen. Z led companies, you probably envision ping pong tables and beer coolers. But, you can’t replace decent pay and financial rewards with a groovy culture.

Gen. Zers are motivated by financial security, which means they want monetary rewards and career development opportunities AS WELL AS to work at companies making a difference. 84% of Gen Z. employees said they wanted to do meaningful work at a company they believe in, that gives them financial security and allows them to build their careers.

Certainly a tall order, but not an impossible one. 

As an employer, you need to make an effort to develop a positive culture, contribute to the social good and reward your employees fairly.

Less Traditional Ways of Working

Both Millennials and Gen. Z are digital natives as they grew up in a world with the Internet, digital apps and mobile phones. So, it’s hard for these generations to comply with strict and potentially outdated ways of thinking about work. For them, work doesn’t have to happen between 9-5 or in one location. 

Allowing employees to work remotely and outside of regular office hours encourages a better work-life balance. And, a better work-life balance leads to more productive, happier and engaged employees. A win, win for all.

Achieving a better work-life balance also helps younger generations avoid stress and burn out — something that 37% of Gen Z. and 39% of Millennials say hurt their development.

Key Takeaways for Employers

  • Promote development opportunities like online learning, mentorship, or in-house training
  • Allow Gen. Z employees to work independently and rethink how your workspace is set out.
  • Embrace Gen. Z entrepreneurial spirit by recognising and leveraging their drive, motivation and creativity.
  • Achieve the perfect balance between a great work environment and financial security.
  • Investigate ways to support employees wanting flexible working options and recognise some of the benefits of unconventional office hours.

Recruit with Change Recruitment

Looking to recruit new employees from the youngest generation? We have access to some of the best and brightest Gen. Z candidates. Contact one of our dedicated recruitment consultants to discuss your recruitment needs.

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