Embracing an Era of Gen Y & Gen Z

You’re bound to have fallen prey to generational jargon – baby boomers, millennials, neo-millennials or Gen Z. But what exactly do they imply in the grand scheme of things? For organizations and business units alike, they’re representative of a makeover within the workforce, a bout of inevitable change.

In 2016, the Pew Research Center reported that the millennials had taken over baby boomers as America’s largest living generation – at roughly 75 million – with around 53.5 million young adults at work. Probe a little deeper and you’ll notice that Gen-Z constitutes a significant portion of the statistic as well, positioned at 22% of the current living population of the USA.

But beyond the statistical overview, these generations present business leaders – most of whom emerge from an earlier generation – with an opportunity to reshape the workplace.

Under similar pretext, Chief People Officer at Apollo Munich – Dr. Sriharsha Achar occupied digital centre stage to present his insights on the matter. A powerful presence in the HR ecosystem, Dr. Achar highlighted key issues from restructuring retention & recruitment strategies to realigning corporate culture, addressing a packed audience in the Mettl powered webinar.

Based on popular opinion, we’ve gathered some of the biggest insights from the 60-minute session. And trust us when we say that it’ll whet your appetite for more.

Getting the Message Right: Who Are You Recruiting?

In a survey by the ADP Research Institute, millennial employees emerged receptive to social rewards over compensation. While they are just as result driven – if not more – than their earlier predecessors, millennials tend to prefer work that makes a difference in the world. It might sound grandiose, but we say that in the broadest sense possible.

In conclusion, organizations that stress financial outcomes as their only goal are likely to falter when it comes to recruiting and engaging top-tier mission-driven millennials. It plays out similarly with their Gen Z counterparts as well.

During the session, Dr. Achar was quoted saying, “Financial security and compensation may rank in importance to a certain degree, but expect millennials and Gen Z denizens to show greater interest in working for companies that demonstrate a positive impact on the society.”

Generational Similarities: Why You Must Alter Workplace Values

It’s been noted that workplace culture works as a direct proponent to productivity within these two generations. In a survey conducted by Randstad across 4,000 new-age employees, it was revealed that:

  1. More than 50% (Millennials & Gen Z) expect to be listened to and have their opinions respected
  2. Around 42% (Millennials & Gen Z) prefer that their managers let them work independently

Flexibility in terms of working off-site, on projects outside core job functions and a revamped vacation structure also echoed as important to both generations. Yes, each generation does have its own take on workplace perks and employee benefits, but the commonalities are enormous. How you leverage them just might define your foothold in the vastly aggressive market in the decades to come.

“We’re going to be depending on an era that works to live and not the other way around. Working isn’t their absolute goal in life, but a simple means to an end; something that gives them access to what they’re passionate about. And we need to accept this change.”

  • Another classic quote from Dr. Achar, CPO Apollo Munich, at the Mettl Webinar Platform

What Can You Do as An HR Professional?

Generation Y & Z possess a host of characteristics that are assets to your business. They’re tech-efficient and driven toward building a successful career. At the same time, they also value sound mentorship and leadership, choosing to galvanize with companies that appreciate work attitude and styles significantly different from their predecessors.

It's nothing short of smart to adapt and thrive in such a situation. But achieving that requires a certain level of commitment and change. Here are some of the most immediate action points you can address:

Consistent Feedback Over Annual Reviews

Workplace Trends, an HR research and advisory firm reports that both generations prefer and choose to receive feedback regularly (23%), weekly (24%), and daily (19%) as opposed to annually (3%).

Accepting Flexibility

Let’s start with something small here. It’s in popular belief to associate working remotely to remotely working or less productivity. But research from the Harvard Business Review suggests the opposite of that negative perception, citing increased productivity, efficiency and engagement in working from home. This benefit, at least part time, is an attractive workplace policy for both new-age generations.

Cohesive Multi-Generational Management

Experts suggest that colleagues learn more from each other than they do from formal training; as a result – understanding different layers of communication, building opportunities for collaboration and cross-generational mentoring open gateways to a culture that rewards across generational lines. The strategy for a cohesive team is more important now than ever before.

Conclusion: Tap Potential Where You Find Them

Baby Boomers are bound to slip into retirement sooner rather than later. And with the incoming buzz about a millennial & Gen Z workforce, it is in a business’ best interest to absorb their new age values and work styles, thereby enabling an engaging and comfortable culture.

Bear in mind that these highly educated millennials and their younger counterparts are passionate about making an impact in the world; harness that energy for your business. You can find more from the webinar itself, but all in all – we’re descending into a new era of organizational dominance. Are we among those who ripple the change, or those to crumble under historical rigidity?

Well, only you can tell.