As compared to Boomers, younger workers bring some different experiences, behaviors, and attitudes to the workplace, like delayed milestones, diminished expectations, a desire for transparency, and greater frustration with remote work. Even before COVID-19 sent millions to work from home, Gen Z felt more disconnected at work: A Cigna One study found 81% of them felt alienated and emotionally distant from colleagues, compared to 49% of Boomers.1 Despite being tech savvy, younger workers worry more about working from home than their older peers: 74% of Gen Z feel less informed about what's going on at their companies when working from home, versus 50% of Boomers, and 61% say video calls hamper their productivity, versus 26% of Boomers.2 Part of what might make remote work more challenging for Gen Z is that as newer employees they have had less time to internalize their employer's culture.
While the differences across generations of workers are significant, so too are the similarities. Employees of all ages seek meaningful work, in-person training and development and competitive compensation and benefits. It probably doesn’t surprise you that Boomers prefer face-to-face and classroom learning for soft skills. What might be surprising is that holds true for younger workers too. Gen Z prefer in-person training and learning: 75% want to learn from their peers, not online programs.3
With five generations in the workforce, companies should think about how best to attract and retain an age diverse workforce. Some ideas to consider: BNP Mellon Pershing offers reverse mentoring programs which help younger employees learn organizational and leadership skills, while executives gain insight about relevant issues that can inform business. And companies trying to recruit Gen Z talent have tried lots of creative tactics, from multi-choice compatibility questionnaires to see if an applicant is a good fit, to allowing applicants to submit videos instead of filling out online forms, and notifying them of offers with a personalized video.