We might earn a small income when you click on some of our links.

Forbes conducted a research project which measured 10,000 specific work cases out of a pool of 1 million global work cases to see what the common factors – deeds and actions – people who achieved and continued to achieve above-average productivity levels had.

Here is what they found:

  1. Holding a higher standard than the status quo.
  2. Completing the work at all costs.
  3. Asking “Out-Of-The-Box” questions.
  4. Looking for input from unusual sources (sources not related to their work).
  5. Always asking for feedback to improve their work.

By 2020 as over 50% of the workforce will comprise mostly of Millennials and Gen Z.

Any business that wants to get the top talent needs to have relevant information on the attitude of these generations towards work success.

Millennials and Gen Z Have Both Been Influenced by Technology, but in Very Different Ways

Millennials grew up in an environment that saw the birth of the computer, Internet, and a host of digital wonders that they had to adapt to and pave the way for future generations. Gen Zers have known this digital environment since birth.

The difference between adapting to technology (Millennials) and growing up with technology (Gen Zers) contributes to 3 major factors in achieving work success: behaviors, communication levels, and decision-making skills.


  • Millennials: Created new rules on how to behave in the workplace based on technology.
  • Gen Z: Customize these rules to fit their advanced technological skills.


  • Millennials: Enjoy a collaborative effort amongst co-workers and remote access due to new technological advancements in the workplace.
  • Gen Z: Prefer face-to-face interactions, which requires them to all gather at one location.

Decision Making

  • Millennials: Prefer to base their decisions on the consensus of their work team, thanks to collaboration options available in real-time at almost any time of the day or night.
  • Gen Z: Prefer to base their decisions on “pushing the envelope” and separating themselves from the pack.

Definition of Work Success

Each generation has a different viewpoint on success in the workplace because of the economic conditions they grew up in.

In a 2016 Millennial Survey, it was found that for Millennials, work success was based upon factors like work/life balance and work flexibility due to the time of prosperity they grew up in.

Gen Zers are looking more for job security and a stable working environment, which has been attributed to the recessionary era they have had to endure according to a Deloitte survey measuring both Millennial and Gen Z work expectations.

Millennial and Gen Z Principles and Views Towards Work

For Millennials, work is not life but a means to have a better life.

This generation took advantage of technological breakthroughs and an optimistic and prosperous time period to establish themselves as employees who make the rules and not the other way around.

Almost 20% of all Millennials named Google as their ideal place of employment for the benefits they offered. Google offers the ideal work/life balance and job flexibility options that Millennials value most.

For Gen Z, growing up in a digital era has given rise to entrepreneurship and independence, so they value competition and individuality more so than any other set of work principles.

This generation is young – around 22 now – but are already proving themselves to be hard-working, independent, and competitive. They want to be judged by their own merits (work results) and rewarded as such.

They know their worth and are willing to prove it.

The following are some interesting facts supporting this view:

  • Gen Z is 55% more likely to start a business than the previous generation.
  • Over 70% of Gen Z high school students say they want to start their own business.
  • Gen Zers are heading straight into the workforce at a much quicker rate than Millennials did – higher education is not high on their list but actual work skills and results are.

Millennial and Gen Z Work Habits and Career Paths

Knowing the work habits and career goals of both generations give business and HR managers the required data to strategize how to better entice, retain, and reward each generation appropriately.

List of Millennial Work Habits and Career Goals

  • Prefer flexible time schedules. They can work even more hours if it’s flexible.
  • Prefer flexible work locations – they get more things done from home.
  • Extremely adaptable and can handle almost any sort of workload and work pressure.  
  • Work is something they prefer to do to enhance their life (i.e., work is not their life). They work to earn holidays, sabbaticals, and more time spent with family than to gain a sense of purpose in life.
  • Millennials often change jobs and career paths multiple times during their work life.
  • They prefer to do one job at a time then move onto the next task.
  • They love the idea of having a career, one in which they can progress, but it should allow them all the digital benefits they love. Namely, remote working, digital communication, and flexible timings.
  • Having grown up in an era where starting a business was never easier, managers need to offer Millennials the flexibility and technology they need to retain them for the long haul.

Millennials love the ability to communicate and work from anywhere and at any time because it fits in with their work/life balance philosophy.

List of Gen Z Work Habits and Career Goals

  • Gen Z prefers to work in an office environment. In fact, 35% of Gen Zers surveyed said they would prefer working at an office than from home when they enter the workforce.
  • While digital natives since birth, they prefer one-to-one communication as they saw Millennials get belittled by Gen X for their dependence on everything digital and virtual.
  • Great at multitasking – like to handle a lot of projects at once or they tend to get bored.
  • Do not need flexible work hours or work locations, just work security, and work stability.
  • This generation seems to express a strong desire to innovate and continuously make things better.
  • Companies that set continuous improvement as a part of their philosophy and company culture remain successful for decades, regardless of the generation they employ, like Toyota Industries. In such business environments, Gen Zers will find the place to call home.  
  • They rely heavily on continuously educating themselves towards their task or work responsibilities even if it means going out of the organization to develop new skills and attributes.
  • Prefer to work for an organization that supplies them what they need to get the job done but also one that they can be proud of (their work must mean something to society at large).
  • They are practical and hard-working like baby boomers but have the passionate nature of Millennials. They take responsibility for their work and the society in which they live (environment, equality, and justice).

Gen Z prefers to stay connected to improve themselves and their life situation. They use technology to advance themselves as individuals in hopes of contributing positively to the world.

The way the workforce measures success is changing.

You need to know what makes them tick when it comes to work – their traits, beliefs, skills, and needs.

With this information, you will be able to construct your organization in a way that fits the needs of any generation, which ultimately is going to allow them to succeed at a much higher level than they could otherwise.

Written By
Josh McAllister is an independent business consultant based in New York. In his free time, he enjoys all things geeky and gadgetry, the outdoors, and spending time with his family. You can reach him on Twitter.

Related Post