HR Management & Compliance

The Similarities Between Gen Z and Millennials—Are You Prepared?

Just when you thought you had figured out the Millennials in your organization, a new generation is knocking at your door. Generation Z is the post-Millennial generation and is loosely defined as those born after 1998. 


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While there are many differences between Generation Z and Millennials, you can rest assured that there are many similarities as well. Many of the changes you made to recruit, retain, and engage Millennials will work for Generation Z as well … at least for now.

Here are nine similarities between Generation Z and Millennials.

1. Customization of Careers

Millennials grew up in a connected world where profile pages, T-shirts, and cars could be customized to an individual’s specific liking. They pulled this expectation into the workplace and wanted their career paths, workplace training, and work tools to have a level of customization.

Generation Z shares Millennials’ affinity for customization. In fact, 62% of Generation Zers would rather customize their own career plan than have the organization lay one out for them.

2. Gripped by Gaming

Nintendo®, Sega Genesis, and PlayStation® instilled an affinity for gaming into Millennials. Thus, Millennials are gripped by products, processes, or procedures that are gamified.

Infusing gaming elements into your training, recognition program, onboarding process, and/or marketing will also engage Generation Z, especially since 66% of Generation Zers lists gaming as their main hobby.

3. Motivated by Meaning

In a world of abundance, it’s no wonder that Millennials were searching for more meaning at work.

With 93% of Generation Zers saying that a company’s impact on society affects their decision to work there, they, too, will be looking for more meaning at work. In fact, 30% of Generation Zers would take a 10% to 20% pay cut to work for a company with a mission they deeply care about.

4. Committed to Contribution

Millennials grew up as the household Chief Technology Officer. They helped mom and dad troubleshoot a laptop, create a Facebook account, and download their first smartphone apps. At work, Millennials felt compelled to contribute their unique expertise and apply their new perspectives.

Similarly, Generation Zers have been helping their parents research and plan vacations, price-compare furniture, and buy a house. Ninety-three percent of parents say their Generation Z kids have at least some influence on their family’s spending and household purchases. Contributing early and often and weighing in on big decisions at work will come natural for Generation Z.

5. Devoted to Development

Sixty percent of Millennials want training to develop their leadership skills. Millennials’ appetite for professional development was strong as they entered the workplace, and it will grow as they begin to rise into leadership positions inside of organizations.

Generation Zers are committed to continuous learning and development because they know their careers will be longer and more diverse than any other generations in history. Generation Z will be forced to learn, unlearn, and relearn at greater levels of frequency than the world has ever known.

6. Transformation of Training

Seventy-one percent of Millennials who are likely to leave an organization in 2 years are dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed. Generation Zers share Millennials’ distaste for how mundane and outdated so many of today’s workplace trainings have become.

One in 10 Generation Zers claim they would rather read the full iTunes terms and conditions than attend formal workplace training. Read this to learn how to improve workplace training to engage the emerging generations.

7. Compelled by Coaching

Because Millennials were surrounded by so many coaches during their overscheduled after-school activities, coaching is the workplace leadership style that resonates best with Millennials.

Generation Zers will also pursue coaching relationships because they won’t be looking to leaders for answers (all the info is in the palm of their hand) but, rather, will want leaders to coach them through their learning, decisions, and actions.

8. Empowered by Entrepreneurship

Inspired by Mark Zuckerberg and empowered by mobile technology, ubiquitous connectivity, and a global marketplace, Millennials have pursued entrepreneurship at a time when the barriers to launching a business have never been lower.

As for Generation Zers, 63% want colleges to offer courses in founding or running a business, and 70% are working self-employed jobs like selling on Etsy, driving for Uber, or teaching piano lessons. Employers will not only be competing to recruit and retain Generation Z talent but also will be competing with Generation Z’s desire and resources to become an entrepreneur.

9. Freed by Feedback

Millennials want feedback 50% more often than other employees, and they want the communication to be swift, mobile, and as digitally native as they are.

Sixty-seven percent of Generation Zers are comfortable with having their manager check in with them but only for 5 minutes or less. Expect Generation Z to have similar expectations surrounding workplace feedback and succinct communications.

Learn valuable insights into what makes the latest generation entering the workforce (Gen Z) tick, and how to best manage them for the good of your company and their professional development. Join Ryan Jenkins on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, for the live webinar, “Gen Z Entering the Workforce: How to Attract Talent, Maximize Potential, and Overcome Cross-Generational Challenges.” Click here to learn more, or to register today.

Ryan JenkinsRyan Jenkins is an internationally recognized Millennial and Generation Z keynote speaker, columnist, and author of The Millennial Manual: The Complete How-To Guide to Manage, Develop, and Engage Millennials at Work. Ryan is also a partner at, a microlearning platform dedicated to helping Millennials perform better at work. Contact Ryan directly at