How Millennial and Gen Z Employees are Changing the Workplace

millenAuthor: Karsten Strauss
Source: Forbes

As new generations of employees enter the workforce and management positions, they bring with them a new perspective. These days, we refer to those cohorts as Generation Z (born between 1994 and 2010) and their older counterparts the Millennials.

Netherlands-based human resources juggernaut, Randstad, recently partnered with brand strategy firm, Millennial Branding and London-based Morar Consulting to conduct a survey of more than 4,000 workers across 10 global markets between June 22 and July 11 to discover how Millennial and Gen Z workers differ in their professional outlook. Here’s a taste of their workplace wants, needs and direction.

On Leadership

“When you look at Millennials, in particular, in the workplace, they have an underlying desire to shape where they work; to make a contribution, to see that the role they play has a direct tie to a benefit in society,” says Jim Link, chief human resources officer with Randstad North America. That benefit could be to the organization that employs them or in the bigger picture.

Part of embracing their roles means being open to inspiration from higher-ups, says Link. “They like to be tied in directly with leaders. They’re looking for a leader who is communicative and able to share mission and vision and values, and how those things tie in with the work that they’re doing and with the work of the corporation.”

When asked, the Millennial and Gen Z survey respondents cited honesty, communication, approachability, confidence and the willingness to be supportive as the key traits of a good leader. Among Gen Z workers, nearly 84% said they themselves aspired to be leaders, while 79% of Millennials said the same. About 60% of the two groups said their leadership aspirations lay within their current company.

Working With Others

The majority of those surveyed felt they were either well prepared or very well prepared for working in teams. Most were also willing to act as mentors and cited their coworkers as the most important attribute of a workplace that allowed them to do their best work. From those coworkers, Millennials and Gen Z expect a willingness to collaborate with them and challenge them. Says Link: “The whole idea of working with mentors and coaches and people who can teach them something is very important to this group of people, particularly the Zs.”

When it comes to dealing with managers, Millennials and Gen Z expect to be listened to and have their opinions respected—over 50% of those surveyed said so. Also, 41% said they want their managers to let them work independently. About 45% said they wish to be mentored and given feedback on a regular basis. By regular basis, these younger workers – used to the instant feedback they receive from tweets and social media posts – mean weekly or after every project or assignment or even daily. That trend could slay the concept of annual evaluations, says Link, as less than 1% of respondents preferred an annual work assessment.

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