Working with the New Generation
Like many of you still in the workforce, I was born at the tail end of the Baby Boom. And, also like many of you, I have slowly come to the realization that a new generation is taking over!
It really started to sink in when we began hiring Millennials. To be fair, while I certainly noticed the differences between us they weren’t terribly drastic. The early Millennials – those that in their latter 20’s – weren’t really so very different from me.
Yes, there existed the usual 20 something angst and a slightly different approach to work but we still had a fair bit in common. They were eager and well on their way to becoming established in their careers.
All was good and we were bumping along quite nicely and then came the later Millennials and early Gen Z!
These folks are in their early 20’s and to say they’re a game-changer would be an understatement!
There have been a lot of articles written about Millennials and Generation Z vs Baby Boomers – the good the bad and the ugly- and it is fair to say that there are differences aplenty.
While I will admit that some of these differences sometimes have me yearning for the good old days of “liquid lunches”, I believe that many of these same differences will bring some exciting changes to the workplace.
To simplify I’ll just use the term “Gen Z” for those employees in their early 20’s. (Apparently even the experts disagree on the dividing line between Generation Z and Millennials!).
One of the most striking things I’ve noticed is that Gen Z do not seem to live to work as many of us were raised to do, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I believe they’re just as driven, just in a different way. They seem to not only value, but expect, flexibility and are more goal-oriented as opposed to task-oriented, working towards successes and rewards throughout the workday.
My belief, and hope, is that Gen Z will spear-head a revolution of sorts where work will truly become more results focused and repetitive or mundane activities will become mor automated, or eliminated altogether. I know a lot of companies have, and do, work towards this but it is a struggle. And I think we can all agree that jumping through hoops to get something done, just because that’s how we do it, really needs to go the way of the dinosaur! Maybe they can finally make it happen.
Aside from any changes that may come and aside from any differences we may have, what I appreciate most about working with Gen Z is their unique way of looking at getting things done. When I started in the workforce, you could have ideas but “they” really preferred you kept them to yourself! You had to earn your stripes. But not so for Gen Z, they’ve got opinions that they don’t hesitate to share them – and assume their opinions matter and will be heard.
I’m not going to go so far as to say that you should always act on the ideas and opinions of your Gen Z employees – there are still a few things we can teach them– but you really should listen because we just might learn something new.
If you’re ready to see what the future of work looks like, then browse our available jobs and start working with both younger and older generations that are the leaders in their fields.