Strategies For Managing a Multigenerational Workforce: How is Generation Z going to be different from the Millenials.
A “Millennial” is a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000. The Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are often described as a generation of sociable, multi-tasking and confident people. They are collaborative yet competitive, comfortable and clever with advanced use of technology and they are about to collide together with their different ideas, values and behaviors with the other workforce cohorts. Several attempts have been made to study the behavior of Millenials. They have been part of a large number of studies focusing on management, marketing and other work dynamics. They are the indeed the first generation born in a world in which access to technology and the internet plays a significant role in every aspect of life.
Gen Z, as they have been named, are those born in 1995 or later. Gen Z has also been labelled as Post-Millennials or the iGeneration and is the demographic cross section following the Millenials. By 2020, they will account for one-third of the working population, hence certainly worth paying attention to.
Some consider Gen Z as raised in an environment of uncertainty driven by the recession and new security measures brought in after 9/11. They are situated in a global world where differences of race, class and gender are shaped and challenged by strong accounts of inclusion and rapid flows of people, information, technologies, and financial resources.
Quite obviously, they are party to the most technologically advanced generation. They are often intuitive users of digital technologies for communication, multimedia and design and their world is intrinsically connected to the use of the Internet through computers and mobile phones.
Gen Z are also referred to as digital natives, because of their heavy use of social media, their entrepreneurial, driven by sense of purpose and multitasking and community oriented attitude. They are used to instant communication, greater use of non in-person interactions and dependence on technology for their social interactions and contact with the outside world.
The challenges they will face as the latest generation of young people are yet to be mapped out. Some consider this generation to have many advantages and positive traits while many think that they are at a disadvantage by being influenced by an overuse of technology.
“It becomes important for leaders and human resources to study the anticipated difference between the two, to prepare their business, shift marketing, adjust leadership, and adapt policies and recruiting efforts to stay relevant for the future”
With the next generation of workers upon us, Gen Z, has already started making its foray into the workforce. What does this mean for the future of work? According to a recent Forbes article, “This generation is jaded from the recession, suffers from student loans, and has learned a lot being the children of Gen X. Compared to millennial, research shows that members of Gen Z are even more entrepreneurial, loyal, flexible, and realistic in their approach to careers and purchasing. They choose opportunities for growth and work-life balance over salary when selecting what company to work for. Like millennial, they will seek mentors and supporters because they are first starting out in their careers, and they will be even more connected through technology. About a third desire to become managers in the next five years already, and 45% believe working with boomers will be challenging.”
How does Gen Z Differ from the Millennials
- More Distracted Focused: Today relevance is constantly being refined and Gen Z lives in a world of continuous change. Gen Z processes information faster than other generations thanks to being very savvy with all kinds of apps. Thus their attention spans may be significantly lower than the Millennials.
- Better Multi-Taskers: Though Gen Z may be less focused than their Millennial counterparts, they have been used to a schooling system which requires them to create a document on their computer, do research on their phone or tablet, while simultaneously taking notes, finishing in front of the TV, maybe even facetiming a friend. Gen Z can quickly and efficiently shift between tasks. With multiple distractions going on in the background they can juggle work and play simultaneously. Think multi-multi-tasking. This type of flow will certainly reshape the culture in the corporate environment of the future.
- Less Price Conscious: Millennials are more price conscious than Gen Zers. This is most definitely because they came of age during the recession. Based on a survey, 67% percent of millennials said that they would take pains to get a coupon, whereas only 46% of Gen Z polled said they would do the same.
- Early Starters: There are predictions that more late teens, will jump straight into the workforce, opting out of the traditional route of higher education, and instead finishing school online, if at all. It does not make sense to them to make a major investment, possibly leading to years of debt to come knowing there are new, more affordable and convenient online alternatives available.After all if they know they are capable of learning something themselves, or through a more efficient, non-traditional route, they will take that opportunity.
- Stronger Sense of Purpose: Gen Z has not seen lack. They operate out of a stronger sense of purpose, based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, considering the bottom pyramid needs have been met quite effortlessly.
- Entrepreneurial: This new age high tech and highly networked world has resulted in an entire generation thinking and acting more entrepreneurially. Gen Z desires more independent work environments. They will be responsible for shaping the gig economy. As a matter of fact, 72% of teens say they want to start a business someday.
- Higher Expectations: Millennials remember the era when internet was only just gaining momentum. Gen Z was born into a world where it seems impossible to operate without technology. To them those inventions that are considered amazing and inspiring by millenials, are treated as a given and taken for granted as a normal way of life. Gen Z expects businesses and brands to be loyal to them. If they will not feel appreciated, they will move on.
- Individuality: Gen Z’ers were born social. In fact, nearly 92% of Gen Z have a digital footprint. They are closely in touch with their peers, celebrities, media and people with common interests they follow, Gen Z seeks uniqueness in all walks of life primarily through the brands they do business with, future employers, etc.
- Global Outlook: Millennials were considered to be the first global generation with the development of the internet. Gen Z is even more global in their thinking, interactions, and relatability because of the environment if which they have grown up. It can safely be argued that kids today have more in common with their global peers than they do with adults in their own country. Diversity is something Gen Z relates to quite easily and embraces.
Based on a survey,Gen Z’ers are 25% more likely than Millennials to say they are addicted to their digital devices. This generation grew up with technology. For them it is very hard to go without their devices. This younger generation is constantly taking in content through their phones. To cater to this massive shift, strategies in advertising, marketing messages, retention and engagement methods will also have to be readjusted.
Companies will soon have five generation working side by side: matures (also called veterans), baby boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. Each of these groups has different needs and wants, from attitudes about career to vacation schedules and training and development.
Understanding them individually as a group and the inter dynamics between the groups and how to leverage that for the growth of the organization and its people is a new challenge for leaders.
About Author –Bhavna Dalal (www.bhavnadalal.com) is the Founder and CEO of Talent Power Partners [www.talentpowerpartners.com].She is a Leadership Coach with ICF PCC Certification, IIM Calcutta Executive MBA, and B.E.(Electronics). Also, the author of the book Team Decision Making, endorsed by former CEO’s of Target, Lowes, Limited Brands, bank of Baroda, 3M , Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, Dr. Manoj Pardasani (Associate Dean Fordham University) and many others. Bhavna has been serving on the Board of Directors of Bodhi Education Society.