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Generation X in the Workplace
Generation X in the Workplace

Don’t assume that Millennials (b. 1980-1995) and Gen Z (b. 1995-2010) are alike. In some ways, they are, but in many ways, they also are very different.

Unlike Gen Y, where everyone was collegial and got a medal, Gen Z’s are competitive and driven to achieve financial stability and security.  They look for an employer who provides those opportunities, want clear steps to long-term career and financial success, and are interested in carving out a place in the larger organizational structure. Their focus on career means that they are loyal to an employer who invests time and effort in their professional development.

What Gen Z Brings to the Workplace

  • Gen Z believes in working hard and mastering the skills needed to get what they want, so provide lots of development opportunities.
  • They seek to carve out a niche that supports their interests and allows them to outshine their peers, so give them unique projects that directly connect to your department’s success.
  • Gen Z’s like challenges that let them stretch and grow. Provide regular, frequent feedback that focuses on improvement and is tied to developmental goals.

The Challenges Gen Z Brings to the Workplace

  • Gen Z’s are digital addicts, who grew up with 24/7 access to the internet. They expect to get answers and solutions at the punch of a few keys on a smartphone, so they can be impatient and resistant to any form of bureaucracy. Explain why processes are necessary or find ways of letting them work on new approaches that streamline systems.
  • Less collaborative then Millennials, Gen Z may not work well on teams. Tie teamwork to professional success and help them understand the necessity of working well with others. Show them how to build effective workplace relationships by mentoring them.

As Baby Boomers leave the workplace, you must reach into the ranks of Gen Y and Gen Z to fill future vacancies. By beginning now to develop your younger employees for leadership roles, you will have talent ready to step in as Boomers retire and leave.