Millennials and Gen Z’ers are driving massive changes in the workplace around the world, especially a key uptake and awareness of teams of new tech. While the two age groups differ slightly in what they demand at work (and they do demand – not shy to change jobs if they don’t get what they want), they have similar aspirations around purpose, and principles of fairness. At the moment, they make up over a third of the active workforce. Harvard Business Review shared that 73% of millennials are already in decision-making roles, and so having monumental impact on company culture across every industry. And we know, unlike earlier generations, they’re not afraid to quit if an employer doesn’t meet their needs. The Great Resignation, The Great Reshuffle, The Great Reset – whatever you call it, it’s a sign of greater, more long-lasting change to come. They are, unquestionably, a force for social change. Read on to find what millennials and Gen Z’ers are looking for in company culture.
Purpose at the heart of what they do
The Japanese call it Ikigai. The Swedes talk about Lagon, or Hygge. Some Bantu speaking cultures centre their lifestyles around the concept of Ubuntu. The idea of living and working with a sense of purpose, belonging, and human-centered values is nothing new to the human race. However, somewhere along the way in corporate America we got so deep into day-to-day business that we lost touch with our long-term goals at work. Gen Z and Millennial, however, are super intentional about striving to be the best version of themselves, productive, and fulfilled. So much so, that the majority (9 in 10) say they prefer a workplace purpose over higher pay, or compensation. And so, when it comes to looking for a job, younger workers want a company which has a clear vision, and a purpose beyond the job.
Real action on diversity and inclusion
The millennial and Gen Z generations are the most diverse in history, at least in the US. There, according to CNN Money 56% of the population is white, compared to 72% recorded in the baby boomer generation. When looking for a job, younger workers want a company which has a clear vision and purpose, including an active stance on diversity and inclusion. It’s not enough anymore to have a token pride celebration, or stay quiet on racial issues. Gen Z’ers and millennials want companies to vocalise their stance on equal rights, and even take action. At least two thirds say equal rights are an important belief to them. (LinkedIn) In the long term, diversity doesn’t just please young hiring prospects, it actually makes your organisation more innovative. Research from the Harvard Business Review found a clear link between increased diversity measures at a company and higher innovation revenues – making it a must-have for company culture in the modern workplace.
In-house opportunities to grow
A generation that’s grown up watching their elders tackle uncertainty and job losses at mass knows that the best investment is in themselves, and their personal growth at work. Gen Z and Millenials have been exposed to more information collectively in their lives than earlier generations ever were – and they’re hungry to continue learning and growing. 74% of Gen Z LinkedIn users say they’re interested in learning new skills, while 47% say they like to be the first to try new things. Millennials, who have been in the workforce a little longer, lean towards in-person learning opportunities at work. 79% of millennials said that having a mentor was crucial to their success. (TheNextWeb) And it works both ways, as a mentorship program allows employees of all ages to collaborate on projects and learn from each other’s working styles. Plus, according to a recent DELL survey, most Gen Z are willing to do the heavy lifting when it comes to teaching their older peers how to use new technology.
Gen Z and Millennials are looking for constant communication and feedback
Despite the stereotypes around screen-staring addicts, millennials routinely report face-to-face communication at work as contributing to their sense of wellbeing and purpose at work. They want a manager who is responsive, and communicative, instead of a senior leader who they never see or are too scared to speak to at work. 44% of millennials say they are more likely to be engaged when their managers hold regular meetings with them. (Firstup) Additionally, feedback and criticism is an important part of the process, and something they look for in a company culture. 66% of generation Z said they appreciate feedback at least every few weeks to stay in a position. It comes as no surprise when transparency, authenticity, and purpose are key values to this age group. So companies should be prioritising mentoring and open feedback processes in order to attract and retain millennial and Gen Z workers.
Post-Pandemic flexible working options
Finally, when looking for work, Millennials and Gen Z demand a company culture which supports flexible working options. In these uncertain times, they have been reassessing their priorities, and expect more support from leaders at work. They’re especially keen on work schedules which allow for work/life balance, learning and development, and moments for well-being built into the day. Deloitte research showed that 46% of millennials claim that flexibility and adaptability are the most critical employee characteristics for successful businesses. Whether that looks like working from home, or a hybrid model, or opportunities for mental health days, employers need to listen to the shifting priorities of these generations to attract and retain younger workers.
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