Spotlight Archive - The Next Generation Workforce

Hiring and Inspiring the Next Generation Workforce

FWSIM January 2020 Panel Discussion

While Millennials (age 23-38) still make up the majority of the workforce, Generation Z (22 and under) is even bigger, a full quarter of the American population.

Panelists Julie Grzeda, Jessica Benkert, Michael Certoma, Kaity Lambracht, and moderator Lucy Tancredi

Panelists Julie Grzeda, Jessica Benkert, Michael Certoma, Kaity Lambracht, and moderator Lucy Tancredi

“Millennials and Gen Zers make up roughly half the world’s population and 10,000 baby boomers retire each day” reports USA Today. Companies will need to change the way they recruit and retain their workforce consisting of mostly Millennials (born between 1981 – 1996) and Gen Zers (born between 1997 – 2012) that resonates with each generation’s priorities.

Members and guests of FWSIM gathered on January 16, 2020 to learn about those priorities and how to best attract and retain these employees. Lucy Tancredi, SVP Cognitive Computing at FactSet and Director of STEM Outreach for FWSIM moderated the panel of Millennials, Generation Z and an HR early career pipeline specialist at the January FWSIM meeting.

According to Lucy, “There’s a misconception that Gen Z are just Millennials on steroids.  We learned a lot from the panel and from the audience’s questions about how that’s not true.  While both care about wellness and diversity, Gen Z are more concerned about economic security, and getting frequent coaching so they can grow at work.  Gen Z is more diverse than prior generations, and that is reflected in their expectations from an employer.  Millennials care a lot about work/life balance and flexibility; that’s important to Gen Z as well, but they also value co-located teams and the importance of community.”

The Panelists were:

  • HR Leadership – Julie Grzeda, GE Corporate HR, Director of Early Career Talent Development
  • Millennial – Kaity Lambracht, Program Manager for the Systems Infrastructure department at FactSet
  • Young Millennial – Michael Certoma, Analyst, Sitehands, a Fintech start-up
  • Gen Z – Jessica Benkert, Stamford High senior, founder of Stamford Girls Who Code

The majority of GenZers are practical regarding financial security, generally much more so than Millenials. GenZers are worried about which jobs will be “future proof” and which will be outsourced or automated away.  Gen Zers say they want a consistent and predictable schedule yet also expect employers to offer flexibility.  Employee perks such as free snacks, happy hours, and gym reimbursements are enticing, but traditional benefits (e.g. healthcare coverage, retirement plan, life insurance) are important too.   FactSet designed their new headquarters differently because of the input of the newer generations.  The office has technology and flexibility for co-located agile teams, global teams, and remote working, a focus on wellness (standing desks, new gym, healthy snacks, yoga room and meditation garden) and a Diversity and Inclusion focus (e.g. a prayer room and all-gender restrooms).

Authenticity and seeing people “in real life” matters to Generation Z. They want to know that a company really adheres to its stated values , and they can easily determine through apps and social media when that’s not true.  Most Gen Zers prefer face-to-face conversations more so than Millennials, and prefer to jump on a video call or have an old-fashioned phone call versus email. A delayed response from a recruiter is a major turn-off for Generation Z, as well as negative employee reviews online, application portals that are not mobile-friendly and workplaces that have a “dated” feel.

Both Millennials and Gen Zers want diversity and inclusion in the workplace, a sustainable workplace, and to receive mentorship.  For Millennials, helping others in need is a higher priority than a high-paying job.  Millennials want clear & frequent positive and negative feedback but Gen Zers require feedback daily.

“If you want to be an employer of choice for Gen Z, compensate them fairly, ensure that they genuinely care about the job you're hiring them for and provide them with the necessary training and flexibility so they can succeed without sacrificing their personal lives,” said Dan Schawbel, research director at Future Workplace.


To check out more information on this topic refer to one or more of the following articles.

4 Trends Changing the Way You Hire and Retain Talent in 2020 by Mark Lobosco, LinkedIn

How millennials and Gen Z are reshaping the future of the workforce by Karen Gilchrist, CNBC

Written by Mary Donohue