As more Gen Z workers enter a workforce increasingly dominated by Millennials, it’s essential to understand how workers from both generations view work and approach tasks. Each group has been shaped by the innovations and challenges they grew up with.
In this blog, we’ll look at some of the defining characteristics of Gen Z and Millennials in the workplace, how they differ, and how their unique traits and experiences enhance the workplace.
What is Gen Z?
Gen Z, or Generation Z, is a demographic term for anyone born between 1997 and 2015. This generation grew up with technology and has never experienced a world without the internet, social media, or smartphones. Highly independent, Gen Z is generally aware of economic, environmental, political, and social issues and integrates activism into their daily lives.
Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, with the oldest millennials in their 40s. This was the first generation to use the internet, have mobile devices, and face the economic hardships of student loan debt and a global recession. Millennials watched the development of many new technologies and watched them become obsolete.
Gen Z and Millennials in the Workplace
Gen Z and Millennials share main characteristics in common, but their differences are noteworthy and can significantly affect how they work together. Understanding these differences as a manager can help you improve your whole team’s ability to collaborate and perform.
Millennials grew up with the pressure to go to college. At the same time, Gen Z pursues knowledge and skills through less traditional methods such as online tutorials, online classes, and real-world experience.
While both groups are comfortable with technology as a part of daily life and work, Gen Z was raised in it. Millennials are eager to learn and adapt to new technology while still retaining the capability to work at high levels without it. Gen Z workers are “digital natives” and find it more difficult to “unplug” when needed.
Millennials grew up understanding that some forms of personal expression, including piercings, tattoos, clothing, and hair color, could prevent them from landing a job. Gen Z, on the other hand, is more likely to value expression over advancement and gravitates toward company cultures that are more casual and open.
Workers within Gen Z have a shorter attention span than millennials. While younger millennials grew up with the same technology as Gen Z, it was less pervasive. Gen Z is used to a bombardment of information, so processing a great deal at once is their strength, while focusing on a single subject is more difficult.
Though these differences, and others, exist between Gen Z and Millennial workers, they create a strong dynamic of experience and innovation in the workplace that improves the mindset and productivity of the entire work team.
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Feedback is one of the most important parts of professional life. As a manager, you must ensure that your employees know what they are doing well and where and how they could improve to help the company function more productively.
Constructive feedback takes skill, however. You need to learn how to give feedback that allows your employees to develop skills and more effectively pursue their goals. Read on to learn some valuable tips for giving employees constructive feedback.
What is Constructive Feedback?
Constructive feedback is a type of guidance that focuses on areas for improvement and offers strategies or solutions to accomplish the improvement. Constructive feedback is thoughtful and supportive. The goal is always to help the employee improve their work performance.
Constructive feedback, also called constructive criticism, is a crucial part of the manager-employee relationship. It is constructive because it seeks to help the employee understand what areas of their work performance need improvement and how they could best accomplish that goal.
When to Provide Constructive Criticism
Constructive criticism can be provided at any time, but there are some situations when providing this valuable guidance is vital:
- Performance reviews
- Following an incident
- Concluding a project
Tips For Giving Employees Constructive Feedback
Focus on observations
Stick to “I” statements and avoid character judgments. Focus on the employee’s actions.
State the feedback clearly and directly
Be kind but blunt. The employee needs to fully understand the issue and how they can positively change for the better.
Show empathy and sincerity
Employees may be upset that they’ve made an error or performed poorly. Be considerate and let your employees know you care about them and sincerely want to help them improve.
Share Constructive feedback in person and privately if possible
Constructive feedback is always more effective in person and should be given privately, so the employee doesn’t feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
Offer suggestions for how the employee can improve the situation.
Include positive feedback
Show the employee that you see and appreciate the good work they’ve done makes them more receptive to the constructive comments and guidance you’re offering.
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