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How well do you know your Millennial and Gen-Z employees?

More and more Millennials and Gen Z-ers are entering the workforce and according to some estimates they will make up 2/3rd of the global workforce by the end of this decade. What does this mean for organizations? Do they need to alter and refocus their strategies to be able to hire and retain the best talent?

The answer is yes! In order to be able to do that, the first step is getting to know their younger workers. In the upcoming weeks, NextGenProject will be sharing some helpful insights from our latest pan European study done in collaboration with Cognizant’s Centre for the Future of Work. We will try to help you resolve the defining conundrum linked to your younger workforce: how are they different?

Who are Millennials and GenZers

Although there are slight differences in categorization, these are the more widely accepted age ranges: Millennials: Individuals born between 1981-1996 Generation Z: Individuals born between 1997-2012

How are they different from each other? From our study, “Many millennials graduated around the time of the Great Recession in 2008–09 and still bear the scars of that crisis’s prolonged impact on job markets, which has contributed to making them more conservative in their attitude to work. Gen Z workers, meanwhile, are riding the rollercoaster of the “pandemic job market”: a deep plunge (or one just averted by quick government intervention) followed by a meteoric recovery that has increased the leverage of workers”.

However, what both these cohorts have in common is the mutual ease with which they make use of technology, their enthusiasm and participation in issues related to social and environmental awareness and finally, prioritising of achieving their personal purpose. Gen Z often described as ‘true digital natives’, has a certain knack for social media awareness and being able to call out what they think is ‘not genuine’ publicly. In short: They care. A lot.

Why all the fuss about ‘Purpose’?

The vast majority of millennial (aged 27–40) and Gen Z (aged 20–26) workers focus on achieving their personal purpose. According to our study, there is a widening gap between what young workers expect from their employers in terms of purpose and what they believe their employers are actually doing. They are also highly sceptical about employers’ commitment to their stated positions in key purpose areas such as employee wellbeing, social impact etc. Young people are struggling to live their purpose at work. Fewer than one in five (18%) of our respondents strongly believe they are living their day-to-day purpose in their work life. Many young workers simply feel left out of the larger conversations in their organizations. For instance, they aren’t aware of their company’s stance on ethical, social and environmental issues. This could be attributed to poor intra-company communication, among other reasons.

Organizations need to start precision focusing on millennials and genZ-ers as they will be a majority of their workforce. These younger workers are different from the traditionally accepted definition of a model employee. These digital natives care a lot and want to be included in the bigger picture conversations of their organizational goals. They identify purpose as crucial to them and want alignment between their personal purpose and their organizational purpose.

Next week we will delve deeper into understanding the expectations of the Millennial and GenZ employees. Stay tuned.

Download our full report The Purpose Gap

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