Just When You Thought You Understood Millennials...

By Sue Winkler, Manager, EngageHR
Published July 11, 2017

For the past several years, employers have been engaging in conversation about bringing millennials into the workforce and what that means for their culture. The blending of generations and identifying the different qualities each brings to our workforce has created changes in how people are hired, motivated, recognized and managed. This is an evolving process and one that employers need to continue to address as new generations emerge in the talent pool.

millennials in the workforceSo now, welcome the Gen Zers! This generation is just starting to enter the workforce as interns and entry-level employees. Once again, employers will need to assess how to incorporate a new generation into an already diverse workforce. Generation Z describes people born between 1995 and roughly 2010,  who may share a few common characteristics.

Gen Zers have grown up in a world of constant updates and changes, and can process new information quickly. They tend to have a shorter attention span, and be less focused, but have better multitasking skills than Millennials. They work well with distractions and can easily move between different tasks.

With all the alternatives to traditional college, coupled with concern over the increasing cost, some believe that Gen Zers may be more likely to enter the workforce straight out of high school and then pursue their education on-line or in some other non-traditional way. They know they are capable of learning on their own. This characteristic also makes them more entrepreneurial. This is a high-tech, high-networked generation. One study showed that 72% of today’s teenagers say they would like to start their own business someday.
Gen Zers want uniqueness and loyalty. Growing up in a world ruled by technology, they have access to a mind-boggling amount of information. They can easily find alternative brands, retailers, and even employers, if they don't feel appreciated. They value their individuality in a world that is more global than ever before.

The challenges of finding and keeping the right talent never disappear, but understanding what motivates different generations can help employers shift their culture in ways that allow all generations to prosper. Participation in the Management Association's HR Roundtables is a great way to brainstorm with peers on how to be prepared for Gen Z and the many other challenges employers face. Check out our Roundtables page for details regarding our many offerings.

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