Seven Tips for Working with Millennials and Gen Z

February 01, 2021
  • John Hindman
    By John Hindman
    Director of Learning Services
    Tooling U-SME


Understanding employees and accepting generational differences have always been important elements of success for manufacturers. But for the past decade or so, these efforts have been focused on millennials. And as millennials are moving into leadership roles, attention is turning to Gen Z.

Our new white paper, Solving the Talent Challenge: Millennials and Gen Z in the Workforce from a Manufacturer’s Perspective, helps manufacturers gain a greater understanding of these individuals — who are sometimes mislabeled as “difficult” — and provides actionable ideas on how to develop and celebrate them.

Included in the white paper are seven tips for working with millennials and Gen Z:

Don’t generalize. While members of the millennial and Gen Z generations share similarities, the majority of this blended workforce is made up of individuals who have different life experiences that impact their approach to work and careers. Remember that each worker is different.

Communicate your corporate mission. Millennials and Gen Z want to see how their talents and skills fit into your company’s big picture, and they want to contribute to its success. Be sure to communicate your mission.

Show them their future. Provide room for growth within your company so millennials and Gen Z don’t feel they need to go elsewhere. Ask about their career aspirations, and then institute clear steps they can take to develop skills they might need for future positions within your organization.

Provide continual learning opportunities. Both millennials and Gen Z have a strong desire to learn. Encourage conversation by hosting a lunch session with management, and pair Gen Z entry-level employees or new millennial managers with mentors — all as part of a formal continuing education program.

Go digital. Move away from paper, as these new generations grew up with technology. Optimize your hiring and training with virtual platforms. Online courses allow individuals the flexibility to complete training at any time of day or night, and have the added benefit of providing instant feedback via automated grading and tracking.

Allow them to share their ideas. Arrange dynamic brainstorming sessions where millennials and Gen Z can contribute ideas, offering fresh perspectives that complement those of more senior employees. From there, assign them to meaningful missions. You — and they — may be surprised at what they can accomplish.

Provide regular and immediate feedback. Regular feedback sessions can help — and they don’t have to be long. Just five minutes of clear, direct feedback, on a regular basis, will keep both millennials and Gen Z motivated and engaged. Also consider quarterly merit increases vs. one annual raise.


For more information about understanding and working with millennials and Gen Z, read the white paper today.

This is the second blog in a three-part series featuring highlights from Tooling U-SME’s new white paper on millennials and Gen Z in the workforce

Download the White Paper

View Blogs

Be a Blog Subscriber

Join thousands of manufacturing leaders and professionals who get the Accelerate blog delivered straight to their inbox