As Gen Z and millennial employees begin to lead the world of work, businesses that best engage these younger workers will thrive. Here’s what your growing business needs to know about “Born Digital” employees.
ARTICLE | 4m read
September 7, 2021
Today, millennial and Gen Z employees make up . These “born digital” generations have only known a world that was driven by digital technology, making them uniquely suited to imaginatively lead the future of work. This helps explain why organizations that increase the percentage of Gen Z and millennial employees by . In short, harnessing the potential of Born Digital workers can deliver a big competitive advantage for small and medium-sized businesses.
However, while Gen Z and millennial employees account for the majority of workers, they are not well understood by senior leadership in either large organizations or small and medium-sized businesses. This often leads to recruiting and retention struggles in addition to a poor employee experience among Born Digital employees. Today, there is clear opportunity for small businesses with big vision to deliver the kind of working environment where Born Digital workers thrive. Here’s how your growing business can attract and retain top talent among the younger workers who will drive the future of your company.
One of the biggest gaps between company leaders and millennial and Gen Z employees is where work should be done. While , prefer working remotely or in a flexible work model. If this seems odd, consider that —in other words, remote work is all they know. This doesn’t mean Born Digital workers will never accept physical office space, but rather that small businesses seeking younger talent will need to prioritize flexibility in where and how work gets done.
So how can small businesses deliver the flexible work options that millennial and Gen Z employees want? The answer is to listen to what these younger workers prefer—and it’s not fluid working styles or unconventional working patterns. Instead, millennial and Gen Z employees want flexible start and end times for work, and to choose their work space. At the center of this is a belief that . In the face of a stressful and uncertain economic environment, . By placing these wellness values at the core of your small business culture, you can best empower Born Digital workers.
Attitudes about technology are another disconnect between business leaders and millennial and Gen Z employees. While most business leaders think accessing the latest tech is what Born Digital employees want most, . Business leaders are also relying on different apps and tools than their millennial and Gen Z employees. For example, (like Teams or Slack) whereas only 21 percent of business leaders prefer to communicate this way.
Workspace technology still matters, but for Gen Z and millennial employees value technology most for its flexibility. , such as personal smartphones or other devices, for work. For small businesses, this represents an opportunity not only to streamline your IT hardware budget, but also to maximize choice for your younger employees by letting them choose the devices they use to do their best work. By supporting a lean and agile culture of choice around workspace technology, you can empower Gen Z and millennial workers to do their most innovative and creative work.
While attitudes about hybrid work models and workspace technology differ across generations, what Gen Z and millennial employees most value about company culture are essentially universal. that enable autonomy, recognize employee performance through remuneration, and demonstrate strong and visible leadership. In the same vein, companies that deliver job satisfaction, career stability, and good work-life balance are more likely to succeed in recruiting and retaining Gen Z and millennial employees.
As your growing business looks to retain and promote talented Born Digital employees, here are three best practices: