What Millennials and GenZ want from their workplace

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In 2020,  will be made up of Millennials (born between 1981-1995) and Gen Z (born between 1996-2012). The eldest in Gen Z are turning 23 this year and, and due to the rise in global population, their numbers are currently on par with Millennials in the workplace. Contrary to some commentators dubbing Gen Z as ‘Millennials plus’, these two generations have distinctly different needs and desires. In the coming years, understanding the needs of these generations will be the key to securing and retaining top talent.

What Millennials want from their workplace

This generation has previously been characterised by , but don’t take this as a sign that Millennials are flaky. Much of this can be seen as a reaction to the unstable world they graduated into after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and around the financial crash of 2008 and subsequent global recession. With the job market coming to a halt, Millennials had to be resourceful in their approach to work.  As this generation evolves, Millennials are . Nowadays, fewer are saying they think they’ll change jobs in the next two years and more are open to staying with one company for over five years, provided that the opportunities for growth and progression are in place. Millennial attitudes towards changing jobs are also becoming more aligned with older generations with , so long as their position continues to challenge them. Expectations around career progression are also stronger among Millennials than previous generations. This doesn’t necessarily mean they think they should be CEO within their first year, but they do expect to have more of a say in projects, and have more opportunities to learn advanced skills through training and secondments.

What Millennials want from their workplace

A good work-life balance is becoming increasingly important to both generations. Of course there will be the odd occasion that you need urgent an email answering at 8pm, but Millennials and Gen Z want this to be the exception to the rule. While Millennials are digital pioneers and the first to explore the internet and social media, they are wanting their time outside of work to be their own. They are also more acutely aware of mental health issues and are more likely to stay longer in a job they feel won’t lead them to burnout, allowing them to relax in their time outside of work so they feel invigorated when they return to work.

Millennials are also looking for volunteering opportunities in work time. They are a generation that wants  and they value workplaces that allow them to do this on work time.

What Gen Z want from their workplace

The majority of Gen Z were still in school during the global recession and they are coming of age in a global climate crisis. Growing up in an unstable world has meant that this generation is . They are a generation who want to work and are looking for a company that they can see a future with. Instead of ping-pong tables and free beer, Gen Z’s wants are much more traditional: .

Both Gen Z and Millennials want to work for companies whose values align with their own. In particular, Gen Z has a small group of . Think Greta Thunberg or the students who founded the  to campaign for tighter gun controls after a mass shooting at their school in Florida. While these activists are a minority (around 16% according to an EY report), their loud and conscientious approach to social issues is rubbing off on many of their peers as they look for .

What Gen Z want from their workplace

Gen Z have been dubbed the ‘always on’ generation as they have never known a world where they weren’t connected. This is the first generation to have grown up with smartphones, broadband and constant access to the internet, so boundaries between the . Because of this, Gen Z are reported to have  of all the generations, so they particularly appreciate workplaces that allow them to work more flexibly and balance their workload. This isn’t only in the traditional sense of working from home while the boiler is being fixed, but broader trends in work flexibility such as sabbaticals, paid volunteer time, meditation rooms or wellness breaks are helping retain Gen Z workers.

Hiring the next generations for success

Understanding how the younger generations think and what motivates them can be key to . Here are our top tips for hiring and retaining the brightest in the Millennial and Gen Z cohorts.

Define your values and live by them

Culture is king for these generations. And that doesn’t just mean writing some inspirational words on your wall. Gen Z in particular want to work for companies with values they can get behind, so . 93% of Gen Z say a company’s impact on society affects their willingness to work there, so think of the bigger picture.

Next-gen flexible work

The younger generations have accepted that work is going to bleed into personal life, but in return they want more flexibility in their roles. They will thrive in roles where they are given opportunities to learn, greater choice over their responsibilities and variety in their role.

Flexibility in work hours and workplaces can also be welcome, but only if it doesn’t lead to the always-working habits of their parents.

Think also about how you can help your employees achieve a better work-life balance. For example OpenSignal recognised that many of their people who had family abroad found christmas a difficult time, so they said to their staff that if they didn’t want to take the time off that they could work from anywhere over the Christmas period even from abroad, and  so they could be with their loved ones without missing out on work.  

Take a modern approach

‘But that’s the way we’ve always done it’ just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Millennials and Gen Z have grown up in a digital world and they fully expect their workplaces to follow suit. Tailoring the  can have a big impact. Whether you’re using Slack and Zoom to communicate with your teams, or you’re , or you’ve implemented a reverse mentoring programme, , the better your employer brand will look to both current and prospective employees.

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