Commentary

Gen Z And Millennials Collide At Work

In 2016, the workforce is undergoing a seismic change as 3.6 million Baby Boomers are set to retire, one-fourth of Millennial workers will take on management roles and Generation Z (those born between 1994 and 2010) has started to enter the workforce. Employers1 are likely to recall the impact that Millennials brought to the workplace due to their dramatically different perspectives about work. That adjustment is about to be magnified as Gen Z, who in many ways appears to be an exaggerated version of the Millennial cohort, radically alters the workplace, says a report from Randstad and Future Workplace from a new study.

advertisement

advertisement

According to new global Randstad research, Millennials are simply not prepared, nor equipped, with the emotional quotient (EQ) and soft skills required to effectively manage others. The situation is compounded when Millennial managers are required to oversee generations older than themselves, resulting in turnover among key positions held by their subordinates and the Millennial managers themselves.

And, a separate study by Future Workplace found that 83% of respondents have seen Millennials managing Gen X and Baby Boomers in their offices. Meanwhile, these older generations hold a general sentiment that Millennials are unqualified or ill-equipped for the managerial position. For example, 45% of Baby Boomers and Gen X survey respondents feel that Millennials’ lack of managerial experience could have a negative impact on a company’s culture.

In addition, Millennials haven’t had the opportunity to develop their much-needed skills in the areas of navigating corporate politics, leadership and team-building. According to the study, Millennials named corporate politics as the second biggest obstacle getting in the way of their work performance. And only 27% of Millennials rate their personal skills as very good.

Preparation for a managerial role is largely lacking, according to many Millennials in the survey. In fact, only 28% of Millennials say their current job relates extremely well to what they studied during their educations.

According to the Future Workplace survey polling multiple generations, 44% of Millennial respondents view themselves as being the most capable generation to lead in the workplace, but only 14% of all survey respondents agree with this sentiment.

Another recent study conducted by talent assessment firm XBInsight looked at managers across a wide range of industries. It identified five competency areas that Millennial managers must develop to close the generational divide between their older subordinates. Employers will need to consider growing the following critical skills of their Millennial managers. These fundamental skills can help build trust and foster respectful, productive and satisfying relationships between generations, says the report:

  • Persuading and influencing;
  • Communicating articulately;
  • Managing conflict;
  • Navigating politics;
  • And gaining buy-in.

When it comes to the aspects of their current jobs that their educations did not prepare Millennials for, many are interpersonal or management-related:

  • 29% say resolving conflicts
  • 28% negotiating
  • 27% managing other people
  • 22% working with older people
  • 22% working in a team

For years, companies have put in countless hours and resources to understand and prepare for the different work styles of the multi-aged workforce, concludes the report. Now, with the introduction of Gen Z into the working world, it’s about to get even more complicated.

Armed with new insights, attitudes and expectations of Gen Z and Millennial workers, employers are better equipped to put tailored programs into place in order to better recruit, engage and retain these valuable workers. Successful organizations today, and in the future, will need to implement important workplace processes and programs, suggests the report, including:

Collaboration: Collaborative tools and processes to fulfill the expectations of Gen Z and Millennial generations, while seamlessly integrating them into existing workflow to maximize workforce performance

  • Career advancement: Frequent and abundant professional development and career advancement opportunities
  • Financial stability: Shoring up of wage disparities and providing employee recognition and rewards that deliver younger generations the financial stability they desperately seek
  • Technology: Integration of the social and emerging technologies that will satisfy Gen Z and Millennial desires for such tools, while enabling more productivity and less distraction
  • Managerial training: Talent assessment and development initiatives for Millennial managers so they may effectively perform and succeed in their valuable roles
  • Work/life balance: Formal work/life balance programs that will help younger generations manage workplace stress

N.B.  Editor’s Note… this is a comprehensive study with significant charts, graphs and data for which a “brief” cannot do justice. It’s suggested that, if the topic is relevant, the reader access the complete report and enjoy its unfoldment.

For additional information about the report, please visit here.

 

Next story loading loading..