Companies have spent a great deal of energy in recent years trying to understand what types of work environments are most appealing to Millennials. However, with the oldest millennials approaching 35 and Generation Z set to soon hit the workforce, it’s time for organizations to consider entirely different challenges: How can they create workplaces that help millennials manage Gen Z? How can they leverage the workplace to best recruit and retain Gen Z? What does Gen Z look for in a career?


Project: Clorox

Here are two key ways organizations should be thinking about Generation Z and their impact on the workplace.

1. Understanding how Generation Z Views Work and Careers to help Recruitment and Retention

Organizations will need to strategically align their workplace with the wants and needs of Generation Z in order to attract and keep top talent. As a recent report from Adecco Staffing USA points out, 83% of Gen Z believes three years or less is the appropriate amount of time to spend at their first job and over a quarter (27%) of students believe you should stay at your job for a year or less. These numbers exceed millennials views and target tenures for their first job.

These stats aren’t good news for employers. Recruitment and retention remain key lines on every company’s balance sheet. Current data suggests it costs between $15,000 and $20,000 to replace millennial employees and increased turnover driven by Generation Z will only accelerate those costs.

There are many factors that will impact how companies attract and keep the next generation of employees, but the time is now to start thinking about how the workplace can be an asset.

2. Understanding Similarities and Differences Between Generation Z and Millennials

Millennials and Generation Z share many similarities, but having the two generations work together will create an interesting dynamic in many organizations. Early research suggests Gen Z prefers in-person communication with managers and peers. They also show preference to well-defined chains of command and teaching style leadership, which may bode well for millennial managers as they prefer working more openly and closely with their direct reports. Millennials may have an easier time managing Gen Z in the workplace than their Baby Boomer superiors did with them, which may be due in part to the similar characteristics they both have: high levels of self-confidence, a desire to learn new job skills, and a “can-do” attitude toward work.

Where the two differ is that Gen Z tends to be more realistic regarding expectations in the workplace and has a stronger desire for managers to listen to their ideas and value their opinions. At the same time, Gen Z tends to thrive on private time to think, tinker and explore new ideas, while remaining close to their teammates for mentorship, advice and connection. Millennials managers will need to find opportunities for Gen Z employees to lead, showcase their abilities and provide a fresh perspective for many undertakings to fuel their entrepreneurial tendencies – all helping them secure a bright future within the company. Organizations will need to coach millennials on how to provide this type of management and also create workplaces that support these relationships to maximize Gen Z’s potential.

Generation Z is set to cause key shifts in company workplaces. These are just two ways organizations need to start reacting to be ready. Learn more by downloading our white paper.

Learn about other key ideas and examples in our full report. Preparing Workplaces for the Next Generational Shift: Gen Y Managing Gen Z