All Millennials and Gen Z in the Workplace: The What, Why & How

Millennials and Gen Z in the Workplace: The What, Why & How

Find out the facts, myths and best practices of providing the best employee experience to Gen Z and Millennials in the workplace.

user icon Sara Ana Cemazar date icon September 25, 2020 clock icon 2 minutes
gen z millennials workplace
gen z millennials in the workplace

Gen Z and Millennials in the workplace is an increasingly popular topic as these generations are becoming dominant in the workforce. In 2020, Millennials form 50% of the global workforce, and as Baby Boomers retire, Gen Z and Millennials will comprise even more of the total workforce. 

So, why are Millennials and Gen Z the most studied generation in history? The fascination stems from fundamentally different habits, goals and behavior than older generations. Gen Z and Millennials are disrupting the established practices of their workplaces, and employers need to know how to respond to their employees’ needs in order to keep their businesses productive. 

In this article, you will learn how Gen Z and Millennials are changing the business and workplace landscape and why it is important that you follow their lead. Moreover, you will learn how to provide an exceptional employee experience to your Gen Z and Millennial employees. 

✔️ Before we start, note that one of the best ways to support Gen Z and Millennials in their work is employee recognition. As you will find out, sometimes they find it crucial for their motivation. Therefore, get our Employee Recognition Playbook and find out how to deliver great employee experience in your company. 

Gen Z and Millennials in the Workplace: Facts and Misconceptions 

To start with basics, let’s explain who the subject of our interest is. Millennials are a generation born between 1981 and 1996, while Gen Z is the demographic cohort that succeeds Millennials. Considering the time they grew up in, Gen Z and Millennials are the first generations that have encountered technology as we know today while growing up. This, among other things, has shaped how they behave and what they expect from their workplace. 

Here are some of the research-backed info on Gen Z and Millennials in the workplace. 

1. Changing jobs more often 

According to Gallup, 21% of Millennials have changed jobs in the past year and 60% of them are open to new job opportunities. Furthermore, 54% of Millennials expect to have 2-5 employers in their career, while 25% expect to have 6 and more. 

millennials job hopping

It is true that employees of these age groups are often accused of job hopping and lack of commitment. However, these generations live in the time of today’s candidate-driven job market, meaning that there is plenty of opportunities for highly qualified workers. In a sense, Gen Z and Millennials are only playing by the rules of the game and looking for better opportunities! 

2. Career progress is a priority 

Traditionally, compensation was the main reason to change jobs. However, for Gen Z and Millennials career development is #1 priority in the workplace52% of Gen Z and Millennial workers believe that opportunities for career advancement make a company an attractive employer, while competitive salaries come in second with 44% thinking it makes employer attractive. 

attractive employer millennials

3. Work-life balance is important 

According to Forbes, more than 80% of Millennials say they seriously consider how a position will affect their work-life balance. This is not surprising since work-life balance has been an increasingly important aspect of work among employees of all ages 

4. Work flexibility 

Work flexibility is one of the most popular employee benefits out there. It includes both flexible hours and work from home options. As mentioned before, Gen Z and Millennials are extremely digital generations that are used to online communication – and research shows that 41% actually prefer to communicate electronically at work than face to face or over telephone. 

millennials communication

Additionally, remote work also allows Gen Z and Millennials to work from abroad – and most of them love to travel. For those that choose to work at home, it saves them time and money they would spend commuting. 

5. Change of values 

As mentioned, Millennials and Gen Z love to travel. Research shows that 52% of Millennials are saving for a vacation, more than any other generation. According to another research, 60% of Millennials say that the ability to travel is one of the primary reasons they work! 

Furthermore, Millennials are environmentally conscious, with 75% saying they would accept a smaller salary to work for a company that is environmentally responsible. This information is especially useful for employers to create better employee incentives for their Gen Z and Millennial workers. 

6. Common myth: Millennials are lazy and want-it-all 

Contrary to the narrative of lazy Millennials, 59% say that competition is their driving force. Furthermore, the want-it-all attitude is simply in line with the market economies these generations were brought up in. In comparison with older generations, Gen Z and Millennials will have to work harder to achieve the same level of prosperity and comfort. 

How to Provide a Great Employee Experience to Gen Z and Millennials 

Hopefully the last paragraph has illustrated a bit more of who Gen Z and Millennials are and what they want in the workplace. In this section, you will find out how to use all this information to provide great employee experience to Gen Z and Millennials in the workplace. 

✔️ Before you start, check out how to map your employee journey and optimize employee experience every step of your employees’ careers. 

1. Creating a digital workplace 

The foundation on which employee experience is built for these generations is technology. Contrary to previous generations, Millennials and Gen Z grew up in the age of Internet, mobile phones and in some cases, social media. These technologies are therefore embedded in their everyday life. According to research, almost 100% of Millennials say they use the Internet, 93% of them own smartphones and 86% use social media. 

millennials gen z technology

Therefore, you need to ensure that the different solutions we will mention are both mobile-friendly and user-friendly to ensure high user adoption and best employee experience. 

2. Employer Branding 

Start things the right way. Make Gen Z and Millennials excited and motivated to work for you even before they become your employees! 75% of candidates research a company’s reputation before applying to a job, and companies with strong employer brand see 50% more qualified candidates 

employer branding importance

Your employer branding needs to be consistent and also present on social media, which Gen Z and Millennials use in large percentages. 

3. Work flexibility  

As explained before, Millennials and Gen Z are looking for flexibility in their work. Therefore, you should ensure at least 20% of the FTE to be remote. However, during COVID-19 pandemic, chances are that your employees are working from home most of the time.  

It is not surprising that Millennials and Gen Z say they would love to work remote even after the pandemic is over, with more than a half saying it enables a better work-life balance and relieves stress. One of the best ways you can ensure employee success is enabling communication, collaboration and recognition, which we will touch upon next. 

remote work

4. Regular employee feedback 

Millennials want feedback 50% more often than other employees. In other words, you need to rethink annual performance reviews and provide continuous employee feedback to your employees. Note that Millennials and Gen Z are looking for approval of their actions, which means that you should more often provide positive feedback. 

5. Reimagine employee recognition 

Similar to feedback, Gen Z and Millennials are looking for more recognition in the workplace. Employee recognition needs to support and encourage their desired actions and behavior, and it is mostly verbal one they are looking for on day-to-day basis. 

✔️ Get our employee appreciation letter templates and employee appreciation quotes to recognize your employees’ work.

When it comes to monetary recognitionBlackHawk Network research shows that 91% of Millennials prefer prepaid card rather than credit for online catalogs. Simply put, Millennials enjoy having the ability to select their own reward.  

This shows the need for all-inclusive rewards catalog, with prepaid cards for Amazon and other popular online vendors. That is why we have included plenty of options to choose from in our Recognition and Rewards Software JobPts. 

✔️ Although some challenges such as employee turnover are present in all industries, all of them have specific challenges as well. Since Millennials and Gen Z are technology-prone generations, a lot of them strive to work in Telecom and Tech Industries. See how you can resolve challenges in Tech and Telecom industries by using some of the best employee recognition practices. 

employee recognition in technology and telecommunications

6. Enabling successful employee communication  

Because of their high digital literacy, Millennials and Gen Z are more inclined to online communication. However, email is not the only way to go. In order to really find out what your employees need, and communication is smooth, you need to make it two-way. 

This is why one of the most used employee management tools in companies nowadays are employee survey solutions. They enable managers and leaders to listen to their employees’ needs and respond to them accordingly. 

During COVID-19, companies have started implementing workplace communication plans that reflect the online work environment. If you want to engage Millennials and Gen Z in the workplace, you need to design smart ways to enforce two-way communication on multiple channels but at the same time to not to overfill them with information. 

7. Career Advancement 

It cannot be overstated how much do Millennials and Gen Z appreciate employee development opportunities in the workplace. This is the number one way to ensure employee retention and satisfaction for these generations. 

Therefore, you should approach this aspect of workplace with detailed employee development plans and promote within. Not only will it get you loyal employees, it will also help you forestall the widening skill gap in many industries. 

employee turnover

8. Facilitate seamless collaboration 

Employee motivation often drops if there are too many bottlenecks during collaboration. This is why it is important to hold everyone included in a project accountable and have an overview of the task completion. 

✔️ In order to facilitate seamless collaboration among Gen Z and Millennials in the workplace, you need to ensure proper technology is in place. Check out our collaboration software BoardFlo to enable your employees to collaborate from anywhere at any time. 

9. Importance of employee wellbeing 

To optimize employee experience of Gen Z and Millennials in the workplace, you must take into account various employee wellbeing practices. As mentioned before, Millennials and Gen Z believe that work-life balance is one of the most important aspects of their job. Moreover, you also need to ensure you include employee health insurance in your benefits portfolio since it is becoming the new standard. 

Moreover, some popular employee wellbeing benefits include gym membership and on-site lunches. 

10. Supporting leadership ambitions 

Another great way to provide great employee experience to Gen Z and Millennials in the workplace is to support their leadership ambitions. 63% of Millennials say that their leadership skills are not being fully developed. However, research shows that Millennials tend to stay longer at companies that support and encourage their generation to aim for leadership roles. 

millennials workplace leadership

Technology that Supports Gen Z and Millennials in the Workplace 

As we discussed, the foundation for providing great employee experience to Gen Z and Millennials in the workplace is providing the right technology. If implemented adequately, using the right technology leads to decreased employee turnover, improved employee productivity and better business results. 

Semos Cloud offers various solutions that allow you to digitalize your workplace processes, as well as make your workplace more dynamic. Get in touch and see which products in our portfolio can help you provide the experience your employees deserve.