Embrace the Millennial Mindset & Engage the Next-Gen Workforce

As Generation Z enters the workforce, and Millennials hold their status as the largest demographic class in America’s workforce, professional outlooks are changing -  and work environments have to change with them.

 Below we’re talking about these two different but closely related demographics, and how to better engage them in the workplace.

Millennials and Gen Z: What’s the Difference?

What exactly are the differences between Millennials and Generation Z? Gen Z is defined as the roughly 82 million americans born between 1994 and 2010. Therefore, the oldest among Gen Z are about to turn 21-22 and are beginning to enter the workforce. By contrast, Millennials were born between 1977-2000 and are expected to comprise half of America’s total workforce by 2020.

Leadership Styles

There are two ways to look at this: The types of leadership that Millennials and Gen Z expect from their leaders, and the types of leaders they aspire to be.

Traits such as approachability, honesty, and being supportive are among the most important attributes that both Millennials and Gen Z look for in a good leader. Millennials in particular want to be closely attuned to their leaders and draw inspiration from them. They’re looking for a leader who can clearly communicate the company’s overall mission, vision, and values.  

At Harri, we provide this opportunity though TeamLive. This digital team management platform not only allows for dynamic team scheduling overlaid with labor costs and POS sales performance integrations, it also creates a fruitful environment for team-wide communication.

As far as leadership style, Millennials have a strong desire to see the fruition of their work. They want to be sure that they’re having a direct contribution and impact on their workplace.

Using TeamLive, employers or managers can share real-time status updates with their team, easily collaborate with staff members, and share important content and company announcements - all from one vibrant platform. It’s similar to the social media platforms that Millennials and Gen Z use every day.   


Ask any Millennial or Gen Z if they grew up doing group work in the classroom, and the answer will likely be a resounding YES. Having grown up collaborating with others in school, both Millennials and Gen Z are hardwired to be team players.

Both Millennials and Gen Z consider coworkers as one of the most important factors in determining how a workplace will enable them to be successful. That’s why it’s key to hire and develop the right people. Harri’s dynamic Source + Hire tools allow employers and managers to discover and engage with candidates on a personality-infused platform, reducing turnover and ensuring the long-term success of their teams.

Career Growth & Performance Management

If Baby Boomers were the ‘Me Generation,’ it can be said that Millennials are the ‘ME ME ME! Generation.’ However, Millennials and Gen Z thrive off of regular feedback in order for a bigger end goal: to hone their skills and progress in their role.

To these generations, regular and consistent feedback is more important than a formal annual assessment.

Try giving positive reinforcement and everyday evaluations. Doing this through a digital platform like TeamLive can streamline the process, only adds a couple minutes to an employer or manager routine, and keeps employees feeling involved and challenged.

The Workplace

Tech may be uncharted territory for many business owners and managers in the hospitality industry, but for digital natives like Gen Z and Millennials, technology is second nature.

Both generations expect tech and digital communications to be an important part of not just their personal lives, but their professional lives. The more you can incorporate relevant technology into your workplace, the more these generations will feel engaged. In turn, this will lead to higher retention rates.

If using tech pervasively in the workplace intimidates or feels foreign to you, keep in mind that a work environment that doesn’t have software, tech tools, or mobile apps will likely seem foreign to Millennials and Gen Z.

Use technology to your advantage and you may find that your quality of communication increases and scheduling errors decrease, which is better for your business!


Balance and flexibility are as important in life as in the workplace, but in the crazy world of hospitality, they’re not always possible. As a tradeoff, employers and managers should offer transparent communication and opportunities for staff to feel like they have a measure of control over their schedules through automated scheduling and swap request tools.  

Harri offers tools through TeamLive that allow people to request time off, shift swaps, and more - with permissions settings in place so it’s a controlled environment.  

The Bottom Line

As new generations of employees enter the workforce, so does new perspective. Restaurants and the hospitality industry as a whole need to stay relevant. Tech is key, and many brands have embraced this mindset from a client-facing perspective - but we need to remember the people behind the scenes, as well.