How to Manage the Millennial Workforce of Tomorrow: Millennials and Gen Z

To manage an organisation, you keep an eye on the future and prepare for what will come next. For your people strategy, this is no different.

To attract and keep the best talent, you need to learn to manage your future millennial workforce now.

Who are Millennials and Gen Z?

Millennials and Gen Z currently account for over a third of the workforce (38 percent). In the next decade, that figure is set to shoot up to 58 percent. These workers bring with them new norms and aspirations for the working world.

So, it’s important that business act now to understand how to unlock the full potential of this millennial workforce.

Let’s have a look at some of the characteristics associated with each group:

Millennials: anyone born between 1981 and 1996

– First generation of digital natives
– Grew up during the great recession
– Often described by the media as ‘lazy’ and ‘selfish’
– Confident
– Curious
– Questions authority

Gen Z: anyone born between 1997 and 2015

– Never known a life without tech
– Hypercognitive – used to consuming large amounts of information from different online sources at the same time
– Sceptical
– Diverse
– Craves human interaction
Socially aware
– Ambitious
– Confident

Both groups are high in confidence, and both are curious and questioning, particularly around authority.

What’s important to Millennials and Gen Z?

To manage young people effectively, we need to understand what is important to them. Three factors we’ve found in our research are flexible working, autonomy, and lifelong learning.

Flexible working

Millennials and Gen Z want flexibility from their employer, with 92% looking for flexibility as a top priority when job hunting.

For this generation, flexible working can mean different things:
– Paid maternity/paternity leave
Substantial holiday time
– Ability to work remotely
– Flexitime
– Making time for exercise during the day.

To those who haven’t had these benefits in their career, it may seem a lot to ask for.

But it’s critical to consider the world this generation have both grown up in. As summarised by the NY Times:

“Technology is a big reason for the change. The youngest people entering the workforce don’t remember a time when people weren’t always reachable, so they don’t see why they would need to sit in an office to work.”


Both generations are confident, and this makes them crave autonomy.

They thrive in decentralised environments where they can decide how work gets done.

Gallup found that that 42% of millennials would switch to a job that allows them to work on a project of their choosing.

You can give this to young people by encouraging them to work independently. Let them know you’re not watching over their every move.

Lifelong learning

Both generations have a healthy appetite for continuous self-development. 87% rate professional or career growth and development opportunities as important to them in a job.

They want a genuine commitment to lifelong learning and professional development from their employer.

Lifelong learning is a win-win situation for both employers and employees. People are much more likely to invest their time and effort in a company that is also investing in them.

Already, 60% of high-growth companies spend above average on L&D. Consider where you fall on this scale, and talk to your employees to find out if they feel supported in their learning.

What are their pain points?

Having considered what young people today want in jobs, what are some of the things that are holding them back? Being aware of, and understanding these, will help you to get the most out of your increasingly millennial workforce.


In a recent Gallup study, 28% of Millennials felt burnt out at work, compared with 21% of workers from older generations.

According to OpenLearn, “Young people have internalised the idea that they need to be working all the time or engaging in the never-ending pursuit of self-optimisation.”

Social comparison plays a role in this. For Millennials, comparison with peers is constantly reinforced online, and this is associated with depression in young people.

Gallup reports several factors that affect how likely users are to feel burnt out:
– A manager who listens to their problems
– Feeling connected to the company vision
– The ability to control what tasks they do and when they’re done

So, to prevent burnout, listen to your employees, and encourage them to set their own schedule.


Millennials are more likely than any other generation to report feelings of loneliness.

Researchers don’t know exactly why this is. However, there is strong evidence that activities like social media contribute to loneliness.

To tackle this, employers need to promote a sense of togetherness with their teams. We can do this by ensuring people have ample chance to connect with their colleagues.

Some places have a clear “time-out” over lunch, where employees can chat with one another and spend time away from their desk.

It’s harder to introduce tangible measures for loneliness. But it’s a critical issue and one that starts at the top.

To conclude

To future-proof your team, you need to understand tomorrow’s millennial workforce, and what they want.

By adapting, you’ll attract the best talent and ideas. This means sustaining your competitive advantage in the future.


How are you preparing for your future team? Let us know at @stribehq!

If you really liked what you read pop us a message! We would love to hear more about your organisation and chat with you about how we can help you create a better team.

No credit card required. Cancel anytime.