Alyce Tran’s Gen Z/Millennial Guide to Working With Different Generations

Alyce Tran

The differing work attitudes of Gen Z and millennials is stark, according to a new report titled ‘Work Responsibly’ from Heineken. The differences range from their approach to working overtime, to tackling tasks outside of their job description and generally how much effort they apply to their role, but how do these differences play out in the real world?

As a Brand Strategist at rewardStyle and the Co-Founder of homewares brand In The Roundhouse, Tran leads teams made up of both millennials and Gen Z workers. She says that in her workplaces, she’s often seen both generations display different working styles.  

“With millennials, for example, ‘hustle culture’ is a little more rife,” says Alyce Tran. “The report found almost two-thirds of this generation believe they subscribe to this way of working.”

Millennials have tended to work longer hours and measure achievements based on the amount of time they work, explains Tran. Gen Z, on the other hand, are a lot better at putting boundaries in place, with the report finding that 96% of the generation feel comfortable setting clear guidelines between work and their personal lives.

“The way I work has traditionally been very in line with hustle culture, which I put down to starting out in corporate law, the fact I’ve built my businesses from the ground up, but also, that I genuinely love what I do,” says Tran.

She says she’s currently trying to bridge the gap between how she works now – which is all the time – and the culture of a younger team who strive for more work-life balance. In saying that, though, she admits both sides do have a lot to offer.

“I’ve learnt over the years the need to establish boundaries for both myself and my team,” Tran says. “I’ve become very good at self-discipline. I set aside blocks in the morning for my fitness routine, which is vital for my well-being, block out chunks of my day at work to focus on specific tasks or so I can do some of the other fun stuff in the afternoons, like attend events.

“I also try to practise discipline with my work devices, by not having my phone out when I’m socialising or spending time with friends, to avoid the temptation to check work emails.”

If you’re in a workplace with both generations and wondering how you can better work together, ahead, Tran shares her top tips, based on her own experience.

Don’t Stereotype

The report found that more than half of the older Australian workforce believed that Gen Z would be more likely to slack off at work and avoid challenging tasks. Tran says that in her own experience, that isn’t true at all.

“It’s just a case of different working styles,” says Tran. “Gen Z workers are just more comfortable at putting boundaries in place and do step up when needed. They just don’t need to hear from me day and night. Also, I’m sure not every single millennial believes they subscribe to hustle culture and not every Gen Z-er is a master at setting boundaries.” 

Be Open With Communication

Open communication can lead to a cohesive workplace where your team is comfortable in setting their boundaries, says Tran.

“I’ll communicate my work style, my expectations of the team and also want to hear from them when they’ll be online/offline in advance and the work boundaries they have in place,” she says.

“Otherwise, I’d also say it comes down to a very open line of communication with my team, by making them aware of the boundaries I’m putting in place so I can effectively practise them. The same goes for when they need to set their own boundaries with me.”

Focus on Results-Oriented Goals

Next tip? Shift your focus to results-oriented goals instead of time-oriented goals, says Tran.

“Don’t assume the quality of a person’s work is determined by how many hours they’re in the office or if they aren’t sending emails outside of hours,” she says. “What really matters is that they’re performing and hitting their goals.”

Create an Energetic Environment

Finally, create an environment that excites workers, says Tran.

“I like to have a Spotify playlist going to help the team wind down after a big day at work, always welcome pets, opportunities to socialise and just have a laugh,” she says. “All boost morale and get the team together which ultimately makes team members feel comfortable enough to communicate their boundaries and feel empowered to practise their own preferred working style.”  

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