Tag Archives: millennials

Understanding Gen Z: They Are Not Young Millennials

If you haven’t noticed, Gen Z has arrived and they need some understanding! They are the “newest” generation to enter the workplace and are soon to pass Millennials as the largest generation with 1/3 of the world’s population. In the U.S., Gen Z accounts for more than 25% of the people and is the most diverse generation in history.

Now Gen Z is making its presence known in the workplace. Gen Z members were born between 1997 and 2015, and they have never known a world without the internet and most smartphones. Many Gen Z children often played with their parents’ and grandparents’ smartphones or tablets and got their first phones around the age of 10. They have grown up in a hyper-connected world, and the smartphone is their preferred method of communication. On average, they spend 3 hours a day on their mobile devices. Gen Z chooses to be entertained more on YouTube or TikTok than on any other social media platform.

For the past decade, the workplace and marketplace focused on understanding and adapting to Millennials (1981-1996). Millennials changed the world of work while inspiring, sometimes heated conversations about generational differences across the globe. Millennials helped drive flexibility, collaboration, purpose, and new leadership styles in the workplace significantly—and now it’s essential to understand the differences.

Optimistic Millennials – Pragmatic Gen Z

Optimistic Millennials grew up during the 1990 economic boom. Like their self-esteem building Baby Boomer parents, they see the world through a bright lens. Baby Boomer parents wanted to make their children’s lives more comfortable and better. As a result, Millennials are seen as entitled and overly sensitive, wanting a trophy for just showing up and occupying space.

On the other hand, Gen Zers grew up amid the Great Recession. Thanks to their tough-loving, skeptical Gen X parents, they view the world with a pragmatic, independent, survival mode lens. Also, Gen Z witnessed Millennials struggling to pay back their college student loans. Gen Z took notice, and they are earners and savers.

Collaborative Millennials – Competitive Gen Z

When Millennials were in their formative years of learning, the Boomer mantra “Teamwork makes the Dream Work” prevailed. Boomers held collaboration held to the highest standard. Collective group projects and after school team sports were the norm in schools. In the workplace, Millennials have a more collaborative mindset, with everyone pitching in and working together

In contrast, Gen Z likes to win! Raised by their Gen X parents, they learned the mantra, “In life, there are winners and losers, and if you don’t win, you lose!” Their competitive nature applies to almost everything, from sports to school-work. Additionally, Gen Z lives in an increasingly competitive educational environment. Technology allows for online grading portals, which give frequent updates on the Gen Z student’s academic performance. In the past, students sometimes had to wait weeks or longer to receive a test grade. Now, they get frustrated if they can’t access their scores within hours of finishing an exam—and often, so do the parents.

It is not surprising that 72% of Gen Z said they are competitive with those doing the same job in the workplace. This generation is highly independent and wants to be evaluated on its own merits, not their team members. That said, they prefer individual tasks over team tasks.

Work-Life Balance – Human Rights, Equity and Diversity

Gen X tried to attain a work-life balance, but the big push to end the traditional 9 to 5 workplace came from the Millennial. Millennials are not motivated by working hard for 40 years or more and then retiring to enjoy life. They are inspired by the idea of blending their work life and their personal life. Millennials want a healthy mix of time, achieving professional goals, and time pursuing personal goals.

Gen Z also wants work-life balance, but their broader focus is on issues that affect them, their communities, and their future. They care about human rights, equality, and diversity in their workplace. In a recent survey, 83% of Gen Z said that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is essential when choosing an employer.

Millennials Seek Work Fulfillment – Gen Z’s Financial Focus

Millennials are known as the purpose-driven generation seeking jobs that offer a strong sense of meaning and not just a paycheck. Older Millennials were entering the workplace near the time of the Great Recession. Many could not find work, so they went back to school or spent a few years volunteering and learning. And yes, many had to move back in with their parents. All that said, Millennials were all about finding meaning in their jobs and making the world a better place. Although the Great Recession impacted many Millennials, this generation rated having meaning and purpose in their work over perks and income. They successfully brought purpose to the forefront of today’s business culture.

The Great Recession had a significant effect on Gen Z too. Gen Z was old enough to see their parents lose jobs and struggle as the economy crashed. This generation remembers the tough times, and they are very frugal with their money. They look for bargains, shop in thrift stores, and they are savers. A new report out states that Gen Z adults between the ages of 18 and 21 prioritize making money and having a successful career. Those two goals are more important to them than having close friendships, getting married, or traveling. Sure, they want to make a difference, but surviving and thriving take priority. Right now, compensation overrides workplace satisfaction and engagement. Money is the key driver, along with healthcare benefits and other perks.

During this pandemic, smart companies incorporate financial education in their online tools for their employees to access. Money is top of mind for this generation and possible for all the others too. Gen Z’s concerns deal with the bottom line: Are they making enough? Saving enough? Can they pay back their college loans? Will they ever have enough money to buy a car? Or a house? Gen Z is turning out to be a generation of savers.

Keep your eye on Gen Z. The world is changing. COVID-19 is reshaping our social, political, and economic landscape. Gen Z, along with the rest of us, is facing an uncertain world. Pew Research reports that Gen Zers have been hit hard during this coronavirus crisis. Their behaviors and perspective may change. Stay tuned.

Karen McCullough, CSP, CVP  is an Award-winning High Energy Keynote Speaker expert on Change, Generations in the Workplace, and Branding; both Onstage and Virtually! She inspires and empowers organizations and individuals to evolve, grow, and realize their true potential for excellence. Participants will acquire tools to help them create an environment of multi-generational trust, collaboration, productivity, and innovation. Tapping into the knowledge and strengths of your multigenerational team will give you “The Generational Advantage!”. To hire Karen for Your next Event click here: https://bit.ly/3okRdYF

Top 5 Tips for Communicating with Your Millennial Colleagues

Communication is a foundational item in every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

Yet, it is an aspect that we tend to take for granted especially in the business world.  In my role, where I help companies understand and leverage their millennial talent while also helping millennials develop the communication and leadership skills necessary to one day lead the business world, I have noticed that there tends to be a massive generational divide on communication.

However, I find that the people who have the ability to effectively communicate across generational lines can cut through any perceived differences and achieve success.

The wonderful thing about communication skills is that even if it is not one of your strengths, with a little work and effort, you can reap the benefits with your colleagues and employees.

Here are my top 5 tips for communicating with your millennial colleagues and employees:

Learn to listen…REALLY LISTEN.  

Many people confuse the definition of the words “hearing” and “listening”.  They assume that the two words are interchangeable.  Unfortunately, they are not the same thing. When you truly listen to another person, you aren’t just hearing the words that are said. You are taking in the entire moment.  You are noticing not only what is said, but how it is said, what is not said and most importantly, the body language of the speaker.  All those elements combine to tell you the full story.  If you are merely going by the actual words you heard, you are missing out.

A study by the famed researcher, Albert Mehrabian found that only 7% of what is communicated is done through the actual words used.   Leaving an incredible 93% of the information conveyed to non-verbal forms of communication.  By learning to truly listen to your millennial colleagues and employees, you are conveying respect and letting them know that their thoughts and opinions matter which leads to a sense of loyalty.

Short = Sweet.  

When writing to communicate with your millennial employees shorter is better. For instance, if you are writing an email to one of your employees and you start out by asking how their weekend went and then start in on the funny story about your dog, you have already lost them.  It is best to be direct, succinct and keep out unnecessary information. What would take your written communications to the next level would be to include bullet points of pertinent information that will allow them to easily scan the information from their cell phone.

Be constructive and consistent with feedback.  

Millennials are widely known to want consistent, regular feedback from their managers. Many managers cringe at the very thought.  The feedback doesn’t need to be extensive. Millennial employees want to know that they are moving in the right direction and a few constructive words from you, as their manager, can keep them going or help to avert
crisis.  Many managers only give feedback when things are not going well.  The feedback tends to come from a place of anger and/or frustration and often makes the receiver of the feedback feel as if they are being berated.  Managers who are consistently communicating constructive (both positive and negative) feedback tend to have teams that function at the highest levels of efficiency and productivity.

Don’t make assumptions.  

Assumptions tend to get us in trouble, yet as humans, we make snap judgments all the time.  Whether we mean to or not, it happens.  We have a need to categorize people. Over the years, the media has built a reputation for the millennial generation usually consisting of adjectives like: lazy, entitled, job-hoppers.  Of course, you can find a million anecdotal examples to back each of these claims among others.  But in reality, not every millennial conforms to these assumptions.  In fact, a 2012 study done by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics refutes that job-hopper title.  According to their data, millennials stayed in their positions for 3.2 years versus the Generation X cohort at the same point in their career at 2.7 years.

Assumptions in the workplace can be dangerous.  At best, they keep us from uniting as a team.  At worst, they can drive wedges between colleagues and eventually bring down team morale.

Be honest about your shortcomings.  

It is quite common not want to share your shortcomings or (dare I say) failures with the world.  Nobody likes to put them on parade.  However, those shortcomings also make you human.  Millennials, in particular, relate to our innate flaws.  Once you start sharing those flaws, the millennials around you will start seeing you as transparent.  As a bonus, millennials tend to relate transparency to trustworthiness.  When you have employees that trust you, their levels of productivity increase.

The amazing effect that communication skills have in the workplace is that when communication is done well, it can make an incredible impact on any business situation. But when communication skills are lacking, that too, can have an incredible impact on any business situation.  Without a solid foundation of good communication skills, companies will struggle to not only be productive and efficient, but also to be profitable.

Good communication skills are the key to making everyone feel heard and respected. Implementing these top 5 tips will increase your ability to work with colleagues and employees regardless of their generation.

Amanda Hammet- Keynote Speaker, and Author
Amanda was given the nickname of the “Millennial Translator®” after one of her presentations to the very audience the business world is trying desperately to understand-Millennials!  She helps companies understand, develop and leverage their millennial talent while helping millennials develop the communication and leadership skills necessary to one day, lead the business world.  To have Amanda at your next event click here:  Amanda Hammett