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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Articles on how Gen Zers are different from Millennials in the Workplace

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


December 03, 2018

This month’s Sustaining the Journey will only be two weeks in length. We know that you will be busy with holiday preparations and the approach of a long break period. We wish you a healthy, stress-free, and relaxed respite from the hustle and bustle of school.

Week one takes a look at some articles on how Gen Zers will be different from Millennials in the workplace. There are some interesting implications and connections to both Cognitive Coaching and Adaptive Schools work. At the end of this installment, there are four of the many links to go deeper into this compare/contrast of generational attributes.

With Generation Z entering their mid-twenties this year, more and more of them will be coming into our schools to teach and in our work places. How might you define this new workforce? Some authors list up to eight major characteristics of this generation of workers and leaders. Here are five to consider.

1. They are more entrepreneurial than Millennials. They recognize that the planet needs work and they are global-minded; they are well-traveled; they solve problems creatively and are not afraid to take the initiative to do so. They also seek autonomy and ownership of their work. Think of Daniel Pink’s Drive: Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose. These are the forces that motivate this generation.

2. Pragmatism. Gen Zers are more practical and realistic than Millennials. Their childhood was marked by global conflicts, radically changing industrial landscapes, and rapid and sometimes unsettling changes. As a result, this new generation will seek more economic stability and security. They will look for improved benefits. They will be more goal-oriented than the previous generation who might have seven or more jobs in their lifetimes.

3. Collaboration and Community. This generation truly embraces diversity and different lifestyles. Through social media, Gen Z has connected with people from all corners of the globe. And, this global community is now the labor pool. They will expect gender, racial, religious diversity in the workplace. They will expect to work in a collaborative culture where conflict is embraced as a source of growth and innovation.

4. Technologically Innate. This generation is not just tech savvy; they have grown up their entire lives with high speed internet and the ability to connect in an instant. They are also comfortable meeting and working in a virtual world. They work remotely; they are adept with online meeting platforms. They expect to collaborate even with people who are in far flung places.

5. Face-to-Face Communication. Despite number 4, Gen Zers highly regard face-to-face communication. You can text them, instant message them, or email them, but they will want more face-to-face communication either in person or via platforms like Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. They like one-on-one performance conversations. They like goal-setting conversations and they like to have their input solicited.

What Adaptive Schools concepts, protocols, and strategies might engage Gen Zee professionals?

How might this generation of professionals respond to Cognitive Coaching? What might they be looking for in a coach?

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