Millennials vs. Gen Z at Work: HR Navigating Crisis

It can be not easy to manage a talent pool. Find out the key differences between millennials and generation z at work to navigate better and seamlessly.

Millennials Vs Gen Z At Work - Key Differences HR Managers Must Know While Navigating Through Crisis

Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are people born between 1977 and 1997, while Generation Z's (also known as Centennials and Post-Millennials) were born after 1997. This makes GenZers the youngest batch of employees in the global workforce.

You've probably seen five different generations working together in your offices such as the traditionalists, baby boomers, gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. But now, it's time to distinguish their work habits, communication and what makes them happy at work and then see what each generation can bring and how organizations can benefit from them.GenZers care more about technology, diversity and money when compared to their previous generation, i.e., millennials. There is a great need for employers, and HR leaders will need to address and adapt to these changes to win them over.

Key differences between GenZ and millennials at the workplace

1.The way they look at work

Millennials place work-life balance as a top priority. They like having a balanced personal and professional life. Millennials don't live for work; they see work as a way to lead a fulfilling life.

GenZ won't accept any unfair treatment at work. They are determined to make equality, diversity and inclusion a part of their corporate culture. With this mindset at work, they encourage employers not discriminate against people of any race, religion or gender.

2. Gen Z are pragmatic; millennials are idealistic

The optimistic Baby Boomers who grew up during a period of economic prosperity raised millennials. This made the millennials idealistic at work. Generation Z, however, was raised during the Great Recession. They are more practical about their circumstances. To have a fulfilling and satisfying professional life, 77% of Gen Z believe they will need to put more effort than previous generations. Many Gen Zers are in survival mode because of Covid-19, which has made the future even more uncertain.

3. Millennials search for meaning in their work, while Gen Z prioritize job security and pay

Generation Y wants to find meaning and purpose in their work-life and use their careers to improve the world. While many believe that Gen Z is focused on this, Gen Z is more concerned with their job security, pay, and how they can improve their careers. Gen Z is more driven by money than any previous generation. Leaders who want to attract members of Generation Z need to promise job security and salary increases down the road.

4. Gen Z values independence compared to Millennials who thrive on collaborative work

Millennials are collaborative and prefer to work in open-plan offices. Gen Z members prefer to work alone, with 45 % preferring to be in a private office over a shared workspace. Gen Z is resourceful and has had 24/7 access to information via their mobile devices. They want to be judged based on their merits. They are more competitive than their older counterparts.

72% of Gen Z stated that they are as competitive as those who do the same job.

What does this all mean for managing mixed-generation teams? To motivate Gen Z employees to achieve their full potential, it is important to establish individual goals and team goals. It's a great idea to hold one-on-one check-ins with younger employees to assess their progress and provide individual coaching.

Gen Z may prefer working independently, but that does not mean they won't excel in a team environment. It is more important to evaluate their contribution to the overall success of the business.

5. Millennials were the digital pioneers, but Gen Z are digital natives

91% of Generation Z stated that technological advancement would affect their desire to work for any company. Gen Z was born into the digital age while Millennials were living through it. Gen Z is highly adaptable to changing environments. To keep these young workers motivated at work, employers will need to continue to focus on technological innovation.

Millennials are digital pioneers. They can quickly pick up new technology tools and apply them to any work-related problem. Generation Zs are digital natives. Generation Zs are digital natives and can access the internet from any device, whether it's a mobile phone or a desktop computer.

6.Millennials desire to have multiple job roles; Gen Z wants to pursue multiple career paths.

According to a report by Gallup, 21% of Millennials have changed jobs more often than non-Millennials. It is important to actively seek out candidates showing signs of weariness in their current positions and offering assistance to them to transfer their skills to other areas within your organization.

Gen Z employees are more likely to feel engaged when they have multiple roles in the company. This generation is more flexible and more suited to the dynamic work environment that exists in corporate spaces.

7. Gen Z prefers face-to-face communication, while Millennials rely heavily on digital communication.

The communication method between the two generations is another trait HR managers should consider. While Millennials prefer digital communication, Generation Z prefers face-to-face discussions.

Millennial workers are fond of instant messaging and email, but more than half prefer to meet in person to share their ideas and get feedback with their managers and team. They have seen the negative effects of digital communication among Millennials.

Communication is key to success in any workplace. Communication is essential for teamwork and communicating messages. Find out what works for you and who you are most comfortable working with.

Gen Zers tend to be poor writers and use a lot of slang, abbreviations, and emojis. This can make it difficult for them to communicate effectively in writing. Gen Zers believe face-to-face communication gives them more chances to prove their worth.

Must read: Most effective secret guide to master remote communication.

8. The driving force is different for millennials and GenZ 

Millennials are hardworking employees and expect their employers to reward them with career advancement opportunities. Millennials want to be supported in their craft and make a difference in someone's life by doing good work.

However, Gen Z finds work more appealing when their paychecks are good. It could be because they don't want to face the same financial problems as their parents. Gen Z can choose between making a positive difference in society or having a secure lifestyle outside of work.

Must Read: Why HR must rethink the definition of employee experience beyond the crisis

9. Gen Z values socially conscious organizations more than Millennials

Millennials and Generation Z are two separate generations with different values, goals and priorities, and it is important to treat them as such. Gen Z values honesty and integrity above all when it comes to their employers, with organizations that are transparent, adaptable and personable scoring highest. There is a similarity here with Millennial employees. However, Gen Z is more socially conscious.

They don't accept traditional gender roles, and they will eagerly fight against racial and sexual discrimination. They are also much more likely to seek out organizations that promote diversity and equality in the workplace. That means diversity and inclusion must be a real focus for businesses in the future.

To attract Gen Z, employers need to define and communicate who they are, their purpose and how they are different from their competitors. The organization's core values must be communicated across social media channels and show support for social movements.

10. How they are looking at remote work in the crisis

Although millennials are getting affected by this crisis, Gen-Z employees are facing huge challenges compared to millennials in the transition to working from home, especially in dealing with productivity, boredom, mental health and skill development.

Only 13% say they have no remote-work challenges and love their work-from-home life. Employers can play an important role in addressing these challenges and helping them thrive, but it will require thoughtful use of resources to optimize Gen-Z's contribution in a virtual workspace.

They want their work to have a larger world purpose. The more companies embrace and understand this, the more they will attract and keep Gen Z talent.

You may like:  6 ways to lead your sales team successfully through the extended crisis

How can managers help GenZ with the Challenges faced in this remote workspace?

Structure and time management:

Both of these skills can be taught to new hires. For some Gen-Z workers, this could be their first job experience after college. They may need guidance in structuring their day to maximize their productivity. Managers should take a more hands-on approach and include tips for structuring their workdays in their job training.

Social bonding:

Gen-Z workers see the social aspect of working as an exciting part of their job. This has been a problem since the pandemic. Employers can make it easier for their employees to socialize beyond workday grinds by offering opportunities like virtual team bonding sessions, fun activities, and virtual check-ins for them to do so. Leaders should take some initiatives to promote a sense of belonging to motivate their young employees and the whole team.

Peer support and networking:

Gen Zers already face a declining job market and more isolated social lives. The first job after graduation sets the stage for one's career path. It's a time when younger workers learn and develop new skills. They also begin to establish their personal values and mission and build relationships.

GenZ is disadvantaged in this context. Leaders should ensure they have enough support from their peers and virtual mentorship programs.

Skill Development:

They don't feel motivated or challenged by their work. "Some companies have forgotten the importance of job training, especially with the pandemic. It is time to do more and improve my skills. "Gen-Z workers want new skills to improve their professional development.

Managers must understand that Gen-Z values skill development, but on their terms. They desire the autonomy in learning. Leaders can encourage coworkers to socialize, provide job training, and help young employees understand their roles in its mission.

Address mental health and well-being:

Employers can make a huge difference for Gen-Z employees and all employees by embracing the value and need for mental health and wellness and working to eradicate the stigma surrounding it.

This is a surefire way to help your Genz employees engage and drive them at work.


It can be not easy to manage a talent pool, given their individual needs, traits, and skills. There are a good number of Gen Z and Millennial employees within your company. But only If leaders understand their priorities, Organisations can benefit from innovative ideas and a competitive edge despite the crisis. Employers can play a proactive role in helping Gen-Z workers reach their full potential, both at the office and remote workplace. There is no doubt Gen-Z employees are the future of the workforce, and helping them perform their best while adapting to the challenges is the greatest asset any organization can have. 


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