Hiring? Here’s How to Manage the Millennials and Gen Z in Your Team

19 Jun 2019

So, you started your SME and hired a few people to be in your team and help you achieve your company goals. Congrats! That’s one part complete. The other, which even larger, established organisations are struggling with, is managing your younger generation of employees.


But what’s the difference between managing older employees vs their younger counterparts? For starters, the younger generation is actually grouped into two different generations, Generation Y (Gen Y or millennials) and Generation Z (Gen Z).

This is going to be complicated, right?

Not really. It’s quite simple. While there have been some differences in the definitions or age ranges of the generations, millennials are generally people born between 1981 and 2000.

Gen Z comprises those born after 2001. So, if you plan to run a business that lasts into the future, these are talents you ought to be looking for, and you will need to understand how to manage them.

Okay. What do I need to know?

We are glad you asked. First, many studies have shown that these generations of employees approach work and the workplace differently. For instance, the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019 shows that millennials and Gen Zers are more interested to work in organisations that have an impact on society than in financial rewards.

What that means is that if your SME’s goal does not go beyond just making a profit, it is going to be difficult to attract the younger generation of talent. In Why You Must Build Your Brand, we highlighted how impact to society and a commitment to improving the world should be a key part of your brand.

But how do I manage them in the workplace?

Reasons why surveyed millennials and Gen Z respondents say they will leave their current jobs in the next two years. (Adapted from The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019.)

If you followed the points in our previous post on how to attract and retain the best talent, then you should have some quality talent on your team already. If you don’t have a team yet and are looking to hire, first check out that post.

The next step is keeping your team members productive, engaged and satisfied with their work so that they can make your customers satisfied with your products or services. Here’s how the experts recommend that you do that.

1. Career growth and incentives

From the start, outline what your employees should expect as they progress in their career in your organisation. Whether they join your organisation fresh out of college or at a managerial level, every employee wants career growth and progression as well as financial incentives and salary increments.

2. Meaning and purpose

The younger generation workforce is more attracted to organisations that drive a positive impact on society and the world. What you can do is ensure and show how their role in your organisation in contributing to that change and improvement.

3. Work flexibility

According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, employees value flexibility in their work second only to income and benefits. While you may not be able to offer your employees the opportunity to work from home, many Malaysian employers now just set the number of hours employees need to work but allow them to decide their start and stop times.

4. Empowerment, and professional and personal development

The 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey shows that millennials expect businesses to provide them with professional development. Support your team with mentorship, training, and development courses and programmes that will empower them to feel confident in being able to deliver in their roles.

5. Recognition, communication and feedback

Millennials are not fans of the once-a-year performance review. Their need to be empowered at work requires that they understand what they are doing right or wrong, and how they can improve. And they want to know this as frequently as possible. Just finished a project? Give them feedback now not at the end of the year.

The good news is that these steps can apply to the entire team regardless of age or generation. You also need to understand that these are broad generalisations. What you can and should do is to understand each individual as much as possible. Ask what they expect from your organisation, so that you can meet their needs.

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