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October 12, 2018

What Do Millennials and Gen Z Want in an Employer?

Millennials (b. 1980-1995) and Generation Z (b. 1995-2010) often get a bad rap in the workplace. Older employees, including managers, find them impatient, unfocused, and difficult to motivate. While some of this is true, it also is true that younger employees want different things from the workplace than their older counterparts, and they find much of today’s workplace frustrating and greatly out-of-date.

Frustration and impatience may be coming from having to use outdated equipment and processes. Keep in mind, younger employees, especially those just out of school, are familiar with and expect state-of-the-art resources. They live and breathe with electronic devices and are wired 24/7. If they are expected to deliver rapid results from 20thcentury technology, they are likely to just check out. While you may not be able to upgrade the infrastructure, you can challenge them to make the existing equipment, software, and procedures more efficient by coming up with workarounds that make sense. They enjoy challenges like these that rely on their technology skills and require creativity and innovation to solve.

Another obstacle for younger employees is the actual workplace—how work gets done, how to navigate workplace etiquette and politics, and how their role and job contributes to something important. Part of new employee orientation needs to address these issues. Younger Millennials were coddled by helicopter parents and have little exposure to criticism or rules. Generation Z, on the other hand, is scrappier and more career oriented. Both need to be indoctrinated into the world of work with guidance, coaching, and mentoring.

You can discover more about managing younger generations in my Leading Multi-generation Teamsprogram and my newest program, Developing 21stCentury Leaders.

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