For the first time in history, there are five generations active in the workforce. Smart and forward-thinking companies are benefiting from a new kind of diversity, Age Diversity. While Age Diversity can bring a lot of unique viewpoints and management styles to your organization, it can also present a host of challenges especially around management, motivation, and communications. I will talk about generational management and communications preferences in a future post. For this series, I want to focus on the types of benefits each generation seeks. It is important that you take these preferences into consideration when recruiting, managing and creating benefits packages to meet your “Age Diverse” team’s wants and needs.
Earlier this week we featured Baby Boomers, Generation X and yesterday, the Millennials. Today’s final post in the series will provide a little insight on the youngest entering the workforce, Generation Z.
GENERATION Z – Graduation from college and starting to get into the labor force.
Most of the blog posts and training companies focus on Millennials, but Generation Z is right on their heels. Generation Z will surpass Millennials as the largest generation in no time. Gen Z’s were born from the mid-nineties to the mid-2000’s, and it’s oldest members are today’s newest employees. By 2020, they will represent 20% of the workforce.
So how are our youngest workers different? Gen Z watched their Gen X parents struggle tremendously during the Great Recession. They saw their parents lose their jobs, their houses, and retirement savings. Thus Generation Z is more pragmatic and is looking for stability. Gen Z witnessed the instability of startups and personally knew people who lost everything trying to start a business after being laid off. They don’t like instability and would prefer to work at a midsize or large business after graduation, as opposed to the minority who would prefer a startup. They are more focused on earning real wages, and working in stable work environments, than those in older generations.
Parent influence was and still is a driving force for this generation. Gen Z looks to their parents for advice and support. Like Millennials, these young employees are accustomed to receiving honest and immediate feedback on their work from coaches, teachers, and parents. They will expect their future employers and managers to continue to provide it.
As more members of Gen Z enter the workforce and more Millennials and Gen X’ers move into management roles, your business will need to recognize the complementary strengths of young and old generations. Bridging the generations at work and helping each learn from each other is a must if you expect to continue to attract and retain the best people.