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Here in Kentucky, the arrival of May typically sends us into a flurry of Derby activities, so much so that it’s easy to overlook another important celebration happening across the country: graduation!

Graduation season marks a crucial time for employers. Suddenly, an influx of young professionals are eagerly vying for their place in the working world, and your business may benefit from recruiting these excited graduates.

But, with new talent comes new challenges, especially if your new recruits are much younger than your other team members.

Many employers are familiar with the challenges of navigating a multi-generation workforce. The Millennial generation and their impact on the American workplace has dominated the focus of companies for quite some time.

But this season, it is Generation Z, not Millennials, that have taken over the headlines.

Below we explain the general values and talents of Generation Z and how they compare to their predecessors, so you can successfully recruit these talented graduates and help your team to develop effective relationships.

If you are struggling with a generation gap in your workplace, you do not have to go it alone! We can provide multi-generational and respectful workplace trainings for your team to help you develop effective, respectful team dynamics.

For more information, click here to contact us on our website or call us at 502.753.0970.

Successfully Navigating A Multi-Generation Workforce With Generation Z

Who Is Generation Z?

May 2018 began the second year of Generation Z college graduations, the generation immediately following the Millennials.

It is estimated that there are roughly 70 million Generation Z members, which will enable them to become the largest generation in the American workforce over the next decade.

Generation Z includes those born between approximately 1995 – 2010, making them 8 – 23 years old in 2018.

Generally speaking, Generation Z has been largely influenced by the skeptical, pragmatic perspective of economic recession. They tend to approach their career with job security and income as their top priorities, and will be looking for assurance that they will survive and thrive in their roles.

A large portion of Generation Z has also been fully immersed in the digital world for a majority of their upbringing. They may or may not remember a world before smart phones, and they are typically accustomed to fast, easy access to the information they want.

In the workplace, Generation Z is expected to offer a perspective that is interested in streamlining processes and maximizing efficiency. They value the presence of sophisticated technology in their organizations and are interested in offering their technological expertise to their more tenured team members.

Overall, when you are looking at hiring or training a member of Generation Z, the security and value your company can offer to them may tip the scales in your favor and win their loyalty.

Gen Z vs. XYB

Today, you may have up to four generations working in your organization, the oldest of the Generation Z, Millennials (or Generation Y), Generation X, and the Baby Boomers.

Each of these generations was raised under drastically different economic and political climates. Their attitudes toward their careers, interacting with colleagues and balancing their professional and personal lives reflect the unique attributes that each generation brings to the workplace.

Generally speaking, these generations are defined as:

  • Generation Z: Born Between 1995 and 2010
  • Millennials (or Generation Y): Born Between 1980 and 1995
  • Generation X: Born Between 1965 and 1980
  • Baby Boomers: Born Between 1946 and 1964

We have reviewed the characteristics of Generation Z, so let’s see how they compare to their predecessors.

Millennials

According to a 2017 Pew Research study, Millennials are the largest working generation in the United States, at roughly 56 Million or 35 % of the U.S. labor force in 2017. At this time, Generation X dominated 33% of the U.S. labor force, the Baby Boomers claimed 25%, and Generation Z had only 5%.

Similar to Generation Z, Millennials are technically adept, highly sophisticated and expect immediate feedback and responses.

But, unlike Generation Z, their workplace priorities focus on work-life balance, rather than reaping financial rewards or stability.

They typically desire to receive constant feedback, and they do not like stagnation in their careers. Generation Z would be more likely to accept multiple roles in their organization, while Millennials would be more likely to look for new opportunities if they are not growing in their current role.

Generation X

Generation X is a notoriously small generation compared to the others you may have in your workplace.

During their upbringing, they would have been exposed to the first personal computers, receiving opportunities to become familiar with technological equipment early on in their education. They do not think twice about utilizing electronic communications, and tend to have a “no news is good news” management style.

They have a shorter learning curve with technology than the Baby Boomers, but may still seem slow or outdated to the youngest generations.

Generation X, tends to have an increasingly relaxed attitude towards changing jobs and careers, and they do not typically have a strong loyalty to their employer. This perspective may conflict with Generation Z’s desire for stability in their career.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers are categorized by the surge of babies born post-World War II between the years of 1946 and 1964, and they began entering the workforce as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.

The Baby Boomers dominated the overall workforce for many years due to their sheer size and the new presence of women in the workforce.

They are more apt to leave employment for the proverbial “greener pastures” of a new professional opportunity. They were unfavorably nicknamed the “me” generation because of their desire for accelerated career growth with the goal to earn as large of an income as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Generation Z may appreciate their professional and financial success, but may feel uneasy with their “greener pastures” mentality.

Overview

Overall, Generation Z most values job security and reliable income. The Millennials value work-life balance and opportunities to grow professionally. Generation X values independence and flexibility in their careers. The Baby Boomers value fast-paced growth and increasing wealth.

These generational characteristics are just as they suggest, general. No individual can be summarized by the generation they were born into, but as an employer, it can be helpful to understand the values that are most prominent in the age groups of your workforce.

Four generations in one workforce creates a great challenge for management teams and HR professionals.  By understanding the differences in the generational attitudes as well as establishing how they can collaborate and benefit from one another, an employer will be able to implement a strategy that focuses on each group’s strengths and achieve a competitive workplace advantage.

If you are struggling with a generation gap in your workplace, you do not have to go it alone! We can provide multi-generational and respectful workplace trainings for your team to help you develop effective, respectful team dynamics.

For more information, click here to contact us on our website or call us at 502.753.0970.

about the author: Integrity HR

    Integrity HR's human resources blog is filled with expert advice (and sassy commentary) on those everyday employment issues that give business owners and managers HR headaches. From tips on how to retain key employees to how to write your dress code policy, our blog has all the HR resources you need.

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