There is a new emerging generation of employees entering the labor force – bringing different values, experiences, and expectations to the mix. 

I’m starting to see quite a bit of research, books, articles, blogs, podcasts, and discussions focusing around the differences with Generation Z. There is a lot of research that outlines the differences and difficulties of managing a multi-generational workforce.  We can generally identify the four generational groups that are currently professionally active as: Baby boomers (1946 to 1966), Generation X (1965 to 1979), Generation Y (1980 to 1994), and the new Generation Z (1995 to 2015). 

Generation Z is the newest generation to be labeled and to join the labor force.  There are nearly 74 million in the US and this demographic will be dominating the workforce over the next 20 years.  So what are some of the nuances with this Generation Z? 

Generation Z is a generation that has never been without smartphones, the internet or social media.  The average member of this generation has had a smart phone since the 4th grade - and played with their parents mobile devices even prior to that.  Research shows that they are hyper-connected and smartphones are their primary method of communication. On average, they spend 3 hours a day on their mobile device peppered with over 4000 advertisements per day…this exposure to digital media has made them skeptical of just about everything, especially corporations and people.  This generation can spot insincerity right away.

Members have experienced growing up during one of the worst financial crises in history watching the struggles of their parents, Generation X.  They have adopted a more fiscally conservative approach preferring to avoid debt and is becoming a frugal generation that scrimps and saves.

Generation Z is financially educated, values authenticity, transparency, diversity and inclusion. Possess a strong awareness and are naturally skeptical.  They bring a strong work ethic and a desire to do something meaningful.  They primarily desire professional development, stability, community, upward mobility, compensation and to make a social impact. 

Each generation brings different values, attitudes, expectations, motivations and behaviors to the mix.  These generational differences affect how we recruit and retain a multi-generational workforce.  Recruitment efforts will need to reflect the respect and harmony required by all four generations in an effort to be as collaborative, productive and competitive as possible.  Retention initiatives will need to echo the same message internally by developing proactive retention efforts so employees stay rather than leave the organization.  A focus on employee retention by harmonizing these generational differences is just as important. 

Along with the awareness and understanding of these multi-organizational differences will come the opportunities to strengthen our talent acquisition, retention, departmental organization and teams. 


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