Millennials and gen z friends sitting together

The Next Generation: What You Should Know About Your Millennial and Gen Z Employees

March 09, 2024

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In the last decade, Millennials and Gen Z have entered the workforce, bringing enormous change to business culture and processes. Here are the top traits salon and spa owners must know about each generation in order to cultivate a work environment that retains, empowers, and motivates employees in younger generations.


The Difference Between Millennials and Gen Z


Many are quick to use “Millennials” as a way to negatively and collectively describe a younger adult who is “lazy and technology-obsessed.” However, studies show that Millennials are far from lazy and there are some key differences between Millennials and the newest generation entering the workforce, Generation Z. Millennials were born between 1980 and 1994 and Gen Z between 1995 and 2010. Based on the source, there is a slight overlap, where some researchers state Millennials were born up until 2000. While both generations of the digital age, Millennials experienced daily life pre-smartphones and aren’t true digital natives like Gen Z.


5 Things to Know About Millennials


Unlike their predecessors, Millennials work characteristics are derived from devoted parents, structured lives, and interactions with diverse people and cultures.

1. They Like Working in Teams. Millennials were raised with a “can-do” attitude and thrive when working in teams. Furthermore, millennials have experience with successful teams and were taught to believe teams can accomplish more.

2. They Look for Feedback. Millennials want to invest their time in personal and professional development and constantly look for feedback to propel towards success.

3. They Want Flexibility. Millennials are used to juggling several activities such as sports, traveling, philanthropy, family gatherings, etc. and expect a healthy work-life balance. They also seek flexible work hours that are less rigid than the typical 9-5.

4. They Want Structure and Career Paths. Millennials are used to a structured lifestyle and appreciate the guidance from mentors. With structure comes planning and organization, and as a result, Millennials are motivated by a long-term career path.

5. They’re Good at Networking. In the digital age, Millennials became the most connected generation in history, and are well-versed in email, instant messages, text messages, and the internet. If their needs are not met at work, business contacts, friends, and new job opportunities are just a couple of key taps away.


5 Things to Know about Gen Z


The first truly digital natives, Gen Z has an entrepreneurial and independent spirit that differs from Millennials.

1. They’re Used to Instant Gratification. With a mobile device in hand, Gen Z is used to instant access to information, people, products, and much more. Additionally, with media sources such as YouTube and Twitter, Gen Z is used to succinct sound bites of information.

2. They’re Adaptable. Used to fast-paced, ever-changing technology, Gen Z is comfortable with change and know how to shift their focus to the next best thing. They know how to drop products and processes if they are on the verge of becoming obsolete.

3. They’re Competitive. While Millennials are more focused on teams, research shows that Gen Z wants to be judged on their own merits. Because they’ve experienced rapidly changing technology trends this generation also understands that there’s a need for constant skill development in order to stay relevant.

4. They’re Independent. Gen Z’s desire for independence is tied to their competitiveness, and they generally prefer to work alone. With an entrepreneurial spirit and desire for financial success, Gen Z is highly motivated and willing to work hard to achieve their dreams.

5. They Want Face-to-Face Communication. Despite the stereotype that Gen Z will only communicate through a smartphone, Gen Z likes to talk face to face. Fifty-three percent of Generation Z said they prefer in-person discussion over instant messaging or email.



How Millennials and Gen Z Will Work Together


83% of Millennials in the workforce are already managers. According to recent studies, Millennials believe Gen Z will be as easy to manage as they were. As Millennials and Gen Z continue to work together, they will be able to combine their technological adaptability and desire for teamwork to further the adoption of mobile devices, social media and other communications and engagement technologies to increase business success.

Furthermore, a huge factor of a salon or spa’s internal and external success will be how it celebrates each generation and their ability to cultivate positive change. It is up to owners and managers to empathize, listen, ignore stereotypes, and let each generation bring their strengths to the table in order to foster long-term business growth.


Are you growing your salon or spa business and getting ready to bring on more staff? Check out our guide: Key Interview Questions to Ask Your Next Best Employee!


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