Generations in the Workplace - KM&A

Millennials & Gen Z – a look into how generational differences can be seen within the workplace, specifically here at KM&A. Everyone is familiar with the stereotypes for the different generations. Some are positive and some are negative, but within the workplace, acknowledging and adapting to those differences is crucial. We took it upon ourselves to dive into the topic of generational differences between Millennials and Gen Z, uncovering key insights that illuminate the dynamics within our workforce: 


1. Evolution of Work-Based Communication 

When Millennials first stepped into the professional world, email was the primary tool for communication. In contrast, as Gen Z is starting their first jobs, email is one of many communication tools. Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace and Slack, are just a few of many options that Gen Z has had from the start of their careers. For Millennials, adapting to this new software was a learning curve that Gen Z didn’t have to experience. Within the topic of work-based communication, this highlights the need for adaptability at any career stage. The day will come when work-based communication will evolve yet again and Gen Z will have to take a turn learning how to best communicate with coworkers and clients 


2. The Differences in Incentive to Work  

Millennials are more incentivized by growth opportunities and potential travel whereas Gen Z’s main incentive is workplace flexibility – aka working from home. While both generations agreed on the incentives, the levels of impact are different. Travel and growth are important to Gen Z, but their main driver to put in the work, aside from monetary compensation, is flexibility with where they work. For Millennials, the ability to work from home is important, but they are driven more so by how they can better themselves as professionals. Both generations are putting in the work to achieve the same results, but what encourages them to reach that level is different. Recognizing the discrepancy and tailoring incentives accordingly is essential in getting the most engagement and productivity from both generations.  


3. Acknowledging the Shift in Workplace Landscapes 

When Millennials started their first job, the climate of the workplace was different than it is currently. It was more difficult for them to move from job to job, whereas it seems like a trend for Gen Z to explore different job opportunities. The fluidity that Gen Z holds within their careers allows them to gain a higher level of experience, but it can also lead to a lack of stability. This is an instance where a combination of generational differences can help foster success. Gen Z can influence Millennials to explore opportunities, whereas Millennials can encourage Gen Z to establish themselves in their careers – a balance that gives us the best for both generations! 


4. A Higher Focus on a Work-Life Balance for Gen Z from the Start 

While Millennials had to adapt to create a work life balance for themselves, Gen Z has benefited from the pre-established balance from the start. When Millennials started in the workforce, the upper management at the time didn’t always prioritize a healthy work-life balance. Learning from this, Millennials, as they’ve taken on upper management roles, are creating a space that allows Gen Z to prioritize a work-life balance. Learning from those who have gone before you is important and, in this case, Millennials are helping pave a path to normalize a healthy work-life balance, which is a reason why Gen Z is comfortable with prioritizing that in their lives. 


5. The Connection Between Millennial Bosses & Gen Z Employees 

There is something special about Millennial bosses. They are more than willing to listen to the opinions of those who report to them. This isn’t something they experienced frequently at the start of their careers, so they are intentional about breaking the cycle. This allows Gen Z to feel heard and valued in the workplace, which could be a leading factor to their higher levels of confidence within their roles. Gen Z views their Millennial bosses with respect, but not fear. The traditional boss/employee relationship has often been viewed as one of dominance and power assertion, but Millennials take a much softer approach with how they interact with those beneath them. Fostering relationships and valuing opinions create an environment that people want to work in.

At KM&A, we recognize the significance of bridging the gaps between generations and fostering a work environment that values the unique contributions of each individual. Embracing our differences and adapting to the evolving needs of our workforce remains central to our commitment to sustained growth and success.

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